GOP Outreach Should Include Support For Black Candidates, Even In Open Primaries

CNN has a great article yesterday by Errol Louis called, “GOP, Support Your Black Candidates.” The entire piece is worth reading but here is most important part:

At present, Republicans are on a collision course with diversity that will, without a course correction, spell long-term disaster for the party. In 2012, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney got only 17% of nonwhite voters, and polls show only 2% of Republicans are black and 6% are Latino.

Republicans can’t allow those trends to continue in a nation where the nonwhite population is currently 35% and expected to reach 57% by 2060.

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus has taken steps to broaden the party’s base: After the Romney loss, he committed $10 million in party funds to hire organizers tasked with building support in black, Latino and Asian communities.

That’s a good start. Even better would be to funnel support — money, “ground troops,” advertising support and high-profile endorsements — to candidates like Glo Smith when they are in the thick of battle. Even in an uphill battle like the challenge in Florida’s 5th District, the party must support black candidates who step forward and endure abuse for running as Republicans.

He finishes it out with this:

In this climate of political polarization, the key to the political center lies with candidates and political parties with the nerve and creativity to form broad coalitions that cross traditional boundaries. Southern black voters and candidates are showing they are ready to make that kind of deal. Here’s hoping party leaders take them up on the offer.

With that in mind, the GOP won’t back black candidates in some Congressional races. I’ve heard from various people in both the NRSC and the NRCC that they “don’t get involved in open, contested primaries.” 

It’s not a law or some hard, fast rule they must abide by. They can easily involve themselves in an open primary. It’s just a matter of picking and choosing wisely. I have to wonder about the GOP’s commitment to gaining influence with minority voters if they are not going to back minority candidates.

Case in point is Florida’s 18th congressional district. It is currently represented by first term Democrat, Patrick Murphy who beat Allen West there in 2012. West ran a horrid campaign, spending much of his time outside the district making television appearances and giving speeches, thinking an avalanche of TV ads would be enough to win. Murphy to his credit, did what a lot of winning candidates do: He met with voters, traveling around the district to get to know people. And he won.

He was able to win, despite the fact that Mitt Romney carried the district by 4.1%. The Cook Partisan Voting Index has the district as R+3. Murphy does have a lot of cash, yes. But he’s still vulnerable and the GOP has the money to put into this race. In fact, the Sun-Sentinel had this to say about Murphy:

But U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy, D-Jupiter, faces a much tougher fight to hang on to the congressional seat he narrowly won in November. The Crystal Ball rates him as the most vulnerable Democrat in the entire U.S. House.

So what does this have to do with the GOP and black candidates?

The race to see who gets the Republican nomination in that district has come down to two candidates: Carl Domino


Carl Domino is a 70 year old, wealthy former FL state representative. He’s also a Charlie Crist disciple.

The other candidate is Calvin Turnquest.



Turnquest is the epitome of what the GOP wants with respect to engaging the minority community. He’s a young, dynamic candidate with solid conservative credentials. He’s also a legal immigrant and can speak with authority on the issue:


That they would choose to ignore a candidate like this because of some idiotic “rule” about open primaries is one of the valid reasons for calling the GOP, ‘The Stupid Party.’

Since Domino has the ability to self-finance, it will be easier for him to secure the nomination. And of course, that’s just what the party needs at this time, right? Another old, rich white guy on the ballot and one with ties to Charlie Crist. 

The longer Murphy is in office, the more difficult it will be to defeat him. He is at his most vulnerable right now despite having over a million dollars to spend on his campaign.

The GOP is going to blow a huge opportunity here. Hopefully, they will have a change of heart and understand the value of it could mean to step in and support Turnquest in this race.