Politics

Obama inspires black politicians to seek office — as Republican candidates

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Alex Pappas
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      Alex Pappas

      Alex Pappas is a Washington D.C.-based political reporter for The Daily Caller. He has also written for The Washington Examiner and the Mobile Press-Register. Pappas is a graduate of The University of the South in Sewanee, Tenn., where he was editor-in-chief of The Sewanee Purple. While in college, he did internships at NBC's Meet the Press and the White House. He grew up in Mobile, Ala., where he graduated from St. Paul's Episcopal School. He and his wife live on Capitol Hill.

Dean Nelson says as far as he knows, there have never been as many black Republicans running for Congress as there are this year.

Asked why that’s the case, the vice chairman of the Frederick Douglass Foundation, a conservative group of black people who promote smaller government, pointed to an unlikely inspiration for the Republicans: Democratic President Barack Obama.

“I think with his success, it has given a level of hope and expectation for African-American candidates, whether they’re Republican or Democrat that you know hey, this is something that can be done,” Nelson said in an interview with The Daily Caller.

Because many black conservatives share the same type of political experience Obama had at the state level before going to Washington, Nelson said, many are saying, “doggone it, I should throw my hat into the ring and I might be able to have success.”

Of the more than 30 black Republican congressional and senatorial candidates running for office this election cycle, the Frederick Douglass Foundation held a leadership summit for more than 15 of them this weekend.

“Because [Obama's] policies are so out of touch with most of America I think specifically you have black conservatives that are looking beyond just the image. They’re looking at policy and how it impacts us,” Nelson said.

He also said there’s “a stronger network of visible black conservatives than many have not seen in the past.”

“What we found is a lot of candidates are feeling like, ‘Hey, I’m not an island by myself, there are other black Republicans who are out there who are not afraid to say it,’ and I think that that has given them a greater sense of confidence,” Nelson said.

During the weekend, the attendees met with RNC Chairman Michael Steele and noted conservative Republicans such as Rep. Trent Franks of Arizona and Rep. Tom Price of Georgia. The weekend event concluded with a dinner reception with Mr. Ken Morris, a great-great-great-grandson of Frederick Douglass and great-great-grandson of Booker T. Washington.

Here is a list of black Republican candidates in 2010 provided by the group:

Candidates for the Senate

Candidates for Congress

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