Black GOP Candidates Accuse Party of Ignoring Them

Anna Palmer, Congressional Quarterly, October 24, 2010

Three long-shot African-American Republican House candidates are fuming at national party leaders for not doing enough to help get them elected.

Campaign managers for Chuck Smith in Virginia, Charlotte Bergmann in Tennessee and Marvin Scott in Indiana all said the support they’ve received from GOP leaders this cycle has been dismal. They added that there could be consequences for the party if they are elected to Congress next year.

Smith’s campaign manager, Lisa Creeden, said she wishes her boss could count on the party’s help; no Republican has held Virginia’s 3rd district in 18 years.

“I think the Republican Party is going to damage themselves with the African-American community,” Creeden said. “I understand part of it is they are focused on races they can win easily, but our point is we couldn’t necessarily win this easily, but we can still win it. The effort to reach out to the African-American community will pay out in future elections.

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Smith is running against nine-term Rep. Robert C. Scott (D). Scott won the 2008 election with 97 percent of the vote.

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“We’re looking at pastors who have stepped away from the Democratic Party machine to say we can’t support this man anymore and we want the Republican,” Creeden said.

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“We have repeatedly asked them for support,” Creeden said. “It would have been nice if we could have counted on the Republican Party to deliver the voters.”

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Jerry Alexander, campaign manager for Marvin Scott, who is challenging Rep. Andre Carson (D), said the Scott campaign has received virtually no help from state or national GOP leaders.

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Alexander said that he has talked with the other 14 African-American Republican candidates’ campaigns, and each has similar complaints.

“It’s been a bunch of guys grumbling that they are getting no support,” Alexander said of a slew of e-mails that were sent back and forth this week.

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But Bergmann’s political director, Howie Morgan, isn’t sold, and he said the lack of interest in African-American candidates’ races could cause problems for the leadership down the road.

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