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32 African Americans running for office…

May 6, 2010

… AS REPUBLICANS

The most since the Reconstruction!

The House has not had a black Republican since 2003, when J. C. Watts of Oklahoma left after eight years.

But now black Republicans are running across the country — from a largely white swath of beach communities in Florida to the suburbs of Phoenix, where an African-American candidate has raised more money than all but two of his nine (white) Republican competitors in the primary.

Party officials and the candidates themselves acknowledge that they still have uphill fights in both the primaries and the general elections, but they say that black Republicans are running with a confidence they have never had before. They credit the marriage of two factors: dissatisfaction with the Obama administration, and the proof, as provided by Mr. Obama, that blacks can get elected.

But interviews with many of the candidates suggest that they felt empowered by Mr. Obama’s election, that it made them realize that what had once seemed impossible — for a black candidate to win election with substantial white support — was not.

“There is no denying that one of the things that came out of the election of Obama was that you have a lot of African-Americans running in both parties now,” said Vernon Parker, who is running for an open seat in Arizona’s Third District. His competition in the Aug. 24 primary includes the son of former Vice President Dan Quayle, Ben Quayle.

Princella Smith, who is running for an open seat in Arkansas, said she viewed the president’s victory through both the lens of history and partisan politics. “Aside from the fact that I disagree fundamentally with all his views, I am proud of my nation for proving that we have the ability to do something like that,” Ms. Smith said.

State and national party officials say that this year’s cast of black Republicans is far more experienced than the more fringy players of yore, and include elected officials, former military personnel and candidates who have run before.

Mr. Parker is the mayor of Paradise Valley, Ariz. Ryan Frazier is a councilman in Aurora, Colo., one of four at-large members who represent the whole city. And Tim Scott is the only black Republican elected to the South Carolina House of Representatives since Reconstruction.

“These are not just people pulled out of the hole,” said Timothy F. Johnson, chairman of the Frederick Douglass Foundation, a black conservative group. That is “the nice thing about being on this side of history,” he said.

He added that the candidates might be helped by the presence of Michael Steele, the chairman of the Republican National Committee who is black and ran for the Senate himself in 2006.

The NY Times says that the Republican party suspects roughly 5 could win. But Could you imagine if 1/3 of them got in? Or more?

The three candidates that the NY Times listed are awesome. Princella Smith is 26 years old, but running in a tough district (Arkansas 1st hasn’t elected a Republican since 1872), but I’m going to be cheering for her. The district is currently represented by Marion Berry.

Allen West is a retired Army Lt. Colonel running in Florida’s 22nd. That district is only a +1 Dem and represented by Ron Klein. West ran and lost against Klein in 2008, but this term could be different for Republicans.

Vernon Parker is the current mayor of Paradise Valley, Arizona and is currently running for the Arizona 3rd. It’s a +9 R with the current rep of 16 years retiring. There is a crowded field including Dan Quayle’s son.

ALSO (from Hot Air)-

Ryan Fraizer is running in Colorado’s 7th. The 7th is a Dem +4, but that’s a close seat in this election. It’s a gerrymandered seat that basically circles Denver. He was was elected to the Aurora City Council in November 2003 and re-elected in 2007.

I hope to add the African American Republican candidate list as I discover more about them.

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