Who comes to your mind when you hear the words, “black republican”? You probably would answer Condoleeza Rice, Colin Powell, Ken Blackwell, former city councilman Sam Malone, current city councilman Charlie Winburn, and that’s mostly it.
When Barack Obama was elected as the 44th President of the United States in 2008, there were many criticisms and complaints about the Republican party’s lack of diversity. Many people said that the party was “an exclusive small tent”, and that it lacked diversity. Right after President Obama was inaugurated, the Republican National Comittee elected the first black chairman in Michael Steele. As we approach the 2010 mid-term election, more black republicans than ever are running for office.
Michael Williams Texas Senate
Michael Williams is running for the Texas senate seat, that’s been vacated by Kay Bailey Hutchinson. He is one of the three members of the elected Texas Railroad Commission, a regulatory body over, not railroads, but the oil and natural gas industries. Williams is currently the highest-ranking African American in statewide Texas politics. He is the first African American to hold a statewide elected executive office in Texas history. He was appointed in 1998, and has since won elections in 2000, 2002 and 2008. He was a speaker at the 2008 Republican National Convention, and recently spoke at the Conservative Political Action Conference this weekend. Here’s a video of his speech below:
Princella Smith Arkansas 1st District
Some would say she is too young. Others might point to other potential hurdles: She’s running in eastern Arkansas, a district that hasn’t elected a Republican since 1872 in a Southern state that has never elected a black person to a congressional or state-wide office.
“I think I’m the person to do this,” Smith said. “I’m going to tell people to come on board with me, listen to these ideas, and that we can get people excited again about the Republican Party.”
If Smith wins, she will be the first black Republican female in Congress.
Democratic Rep. Marion Berry, a Blue Dog, has held the seat since 1997. Democratic Senator Blanche Lincoln previously represented the mostly rural district. In January, Berry announced that he would not seek re-election. Three Democrats have thrown their hats into the primary ring.
Republican Rick Crawford, who runs a radio station, is running against Smith. Crawford has garnered the endorsements of former governor and presidential candidate Mike Huckabee and Asa Hutchinson, who served three times in Congress, worked as director for the Drug Enforcement Agency and served as the first under secretary for border and transportation security at the Department of Homeland Security during the Bush administration.
But Smith has her own high-profile network.
In her first Washington job, she worked for RNC chairman’s Michael Steele’s failed 2005 Senate campaign. Steele introduced her to Newt Gingrich, who hired her to work in the communications department for his American Solutions. More recently, she has worked as an aide to freshman Louisiana Republican Rep. Anh “Joseph” Cao.
Tim Scott 1st district South Carolina
South Carolina State Rep. Tim Scott announced today that he is running as a Republican to represent South Carolina’s First Congressional District. The seat is currently held by Rep. Henry Brown (R-S.C.), who is retiring. “I’m a conservative Republican and I want to go to Washington to win our country back,” Mr. Scott, who is now abandoning his bid to be South Carolina’s lieutenant governor, said. “I believe America is at a crossroads, and we must quickly reverse the course the Obama Administration and the Democrats in Congress have charted of more government spending, more government involvement in the lives of its citizens, and ever higher taxes to pay for it.”
Mr. Scott was the first African-American Republican elected to the state assembly since Reconstruction. Before being elected to the state House, Mr. Scott served on Charleston County Council for 13 years. Mr. Scott will join an already crowded Republican primary field which includes: Paul Thurmond (son of the late Sen. Strom Thurmond), Carroll Campbell III (son of the late South Carolina Gov. Carroll Campbell), tea party activist Katherine Jenerette, Charleston County School Board member Larry Kobrovsky, Isle of Palms City Councilman Ryan Buckhannon and former Brown aide Stovall Witte.
Retired Col. Allen West Florida 22nd District
Allen West is a retired American army officer and candidate for the United States Congress in Florida’s 22nd district. West, who was born and raised in a poor area of Atlanta, Georgia, currently resides in Florida with his wife Angela and his daughters Aubrey and Austen.
His awards and decorations include the Bronze Star, Meritorious Service Medal (two Oak Leaf Clusters), Army Commendation Medal (two Oak Leaf Clusters, one Valor Device), Army Achievement Medal (one Oak Leaf Cluster), Valorous Unit Award, Air Assault Badge and the Parachutist Badge.
In addition, West has been awarded the following service medals and ribbons: National Defense Service Medal (with bronze star device), Southwest Asia Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Army Overseas Service Ribbon (multiple awards), Saudi Arabia Kuwait Liberation Medal W/Palm Tree and Kuwait Liberation Medal. In January 2004, the conservative FrontPage Magazine named West its Man of the Year.
Allen West, too, spoke at this weekend’s Conservative Political Action Conference. Here’s a video of his speech below