Remember that highly touted 2013 “Growth and Opportunity Project Report” of the Republican National Committee (RNC), which did an “autopsy” of the Romney debacle with minorities in 2012? After three years, as far as support for black Republican candidates for office is concerned, it appears that the report has grown cold.
Regarding black voters, its recommendations included: “The RNC should create a program that is focused on recruiting and supporting African American Republican candidates for office. The RNC must improve on promoting African American staff and candidates within the Party.”
In response to the report, I wrote in this space: “The GOP should realize that the party still has a major credibility problem with blacks, particularly black Republicans.”
From what I am hearing from many black Republican candidates, there is still reason for skepticism three years after the report.
Some feel they are getting the back of the hand from the GOP establishment.
For example, all we have to do is look at how the GOP establishment — the RNC and the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) — are treating three outstanding black Republican candidates for Congress:
Glo Smith, who is running for Florida’s 5th Congressional District seat held since 1993 by Democrat Corrine Brown; Lori Anita Bartley in the 18th Congressional District of Texas, who is challenging Democrat Sheila Jackson Lee, first elected in 1995; Corrogan Vaughn of Baltimore in Maryland’s 7th Congressional District, who is going against Democrat Elijah Cummings, who has held the seat since 1996.
Smith — a native of Jacksonville — is pro- life, believes in low taxes, small government, fiscal responsibility, a strong national defense and is supported by former Florida Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll. She is a Trump Alternate Delegate to the GOP Convention. Bartley is a Tea Party movement candidate and the great-great granddaughter of former slave, minister and Republican State Senator Matthew Gaines whose efforts for free public education in Texas led to the founding of Texas A&M and Prairie View Universities.
In her primary, she defeated three opponents — a white male, Hispanic male and a Hispanic female. She supports school choice; has been an advocate for mental illness, homelessness and elder care reforms; and, has an extensive background in probation, education and counseling. Vaughn is a pro-life, 2nd amendment Donald Trump supporter; will be a Trump Delegate to the GOP Convention; is a member of the National Diversity Coalition for Trump; and, defeated two white candidates in his primary.
He is active in faith-based organizations, in- cluding the Progressive National Baptist Convention. He has also been a leader and advocate for underprivileged children, the incarcerated, and their families. These three outstanding black Republican candidates are attempting to unseat three Congressional Black Caucus Democratic “plantation politics” icons. They have one thing in common — at this point, they have received no support or resources from either the RNC or NRCC.
Smith and Bartley have been told point blank by the NRCC that they do not deserve support because they are in black Democratic districts which supported Obama and that it would be a “waste of resources.” The message, they can’t win in a black district — don’t even try.
The jury is still out on whether the RNC or NRCC will reach out to Vaughn who has brought over 9,000 diversified voters into the party in the last year.
His major city, Baltimore, is a national ex- ample of the failures of liberal Democratic ruled urban centers — witness the Baltimore riots, failed schools, and unemployment.
The Republican Party should be proud of such fantastic black candidates and hold them up as examples of progress and outreach.
Isn’t that what the so-called “Growth and Opportunity Project Report” was all about?
Not doing so and refusing to assist contradicts the report: “We are never going to win over voters who are not asked for their support. Too many African-American voters have gotten in the habit of supporting Democrats without hearing anyone in their community making a case to the contrary.”
By refusing to assist or ignoring these and other black Republican candidates, they are saying that they really don’t want to win over black voters; will not ask for their support; and, don’t care if they will never hear from “anyone in the black community making a case to the contrary.”
Maybe these three candidates are unique and the RNC and NRCC are bending over backwards to help other black Republican candidates.
If so, it’s one of the best kept secrets in Washington. We will really see what the GOP establish- ment is made of in the Colorado U.S. Senate race where it will have no excuse for not supporting a black Republican. Former Air Force Lt. Colonel Darryl Glenn, a black Tea Party favorite — with little money and a volunteer staff — decisively defeated four opponents to win the Colorado Republican U.S. Senate primary Tuesday.
He will face Democratic incumbent Michael Bennet in November.
He has been endorsed by Ted Cruz, R- Texas, and former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin. At least the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) can’t tell Glenn what its House counterpart (NRCC) told Smith and Bartley — Colorado is far from being a black majority state.
Clarence V. McKee is president of McKee Communications, Inc., a government, political, and media relations consulting firm in Florida. He held several positions in the Reagan administration as well as in the Reagan presidential campaigns and has appeared on many national and local media outlets. He is a former co-owner of WTVT-TV in Tampa and former president of the Florida Association of Broadcasters. Read more reports from Clarence V. McKee.