March 19, 2010

MAKING THE PARTY LOOK LIKE AMERICA:

The GOP's New Race Card: Republicans have recruited their biggest roster of African-American candidates ever. John Avlon on how the GOP hopes to use this group of 32 to counter charges of racial insensitivity. (John Avlon, 3/18/10, Daily Beast)

The list of 32 candidates is diverse in terms of geography and background. And while some are certainly considered long shots, Johnson believes that black Republicans can help pick up at least five seats for the GOP this fall. Some of the more notable candidates include:

• Scripps Howard columnist Star Parker, author of the controversial Uncle Sam's Plantation: How Big Government Enslaves America's Poor and What We Can Do About It and a college-campus speaker for the Clare Boothe Luce Institute. She is running in California’s 37th District, which includes parts of Compton and Long Beach.

• Texas Railroad Commissioner Michael Williams, the only statewide elected African-American official in the Lone Star State, brought the house down at CPAC with a speech focused on energy independence (the Texas Railroad Commission helps regulate the oil and gas industry). He is running for the U.S. Senate, facing a likely primary against incumbent Kay Bailey Hutchinson, who lost her challenge to Texas Governor Rick Perry this month.

• The Reverend Michel Faulkner is running as a Republican in Harlem to replace the ethically embattled Rep. Charles Rangel. An inspirational speaker who has served as a pastor in northern Manhattan for the past 20 years, Faulkner is also known for having played a season for the hometown favorite New York Jets. He is campaigning on an anti-corruption, pro-growth platform, saying” I believe that the American Dream has been stolen by greed and corruption, causing hard-working, peace-loving people to become apathetic about democracy and, when that happens, democracy does not work.”

• Allen West is a highly decorated retired Army lieutenant colonel who resigned with full benefits after an investigation for misconduct in Iraq. His troops were accused of harshly interrogating an Iraqi police officer they believed had given information to insurgent forces that targeted U.S. soldiers. West was accused of firing a pistol near the man’s head. When asked if he would act the same way during a subsequent inquest, West defended his actions saying, “If it's about the lives of my men and their safety, I'd go through hell with a gasoline can.” He campaigned unsuccessfully for Florida’s 22nd District in 2008 and is trying again in 2010.

• Angela McGlowan is a former Fox News contributor and Capitol Hill staffer who authored the book Bamboozled. An elegant and polished presence, she spoke at the National Tea Party convention in Nashville in remarks that were carried by C-SPAN. She is running in her native Mississippi in the 1st Congressional District.

• Ryan Frazier is a highly regarded 31-year old city councilman from Aurora, Colorado, who is seen as a rising star among Western conservatives. He considered running for the U.S. Senate before switching his sights to the 7th Congressional District.

• Princella Smith is a 26 year old who won a 2004 MTV public-speaking contest that got her a speaking slot at that year’s Republican National Convention. She is running for an open seat in the 1st District of Arkansas, which is trending Republican.

These candidates—and many others on the list—have been embraced by local Republicans as powerful voices for conservative reform.

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 19, 2010 5:33 AM
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