Black Republicans work to make black voters think Republican
Black Republicans are aggressively pushing to win more black voters to their party. The Republican Party itself is actively promoting the candidacy of several blacks for Congress. These include two candidates for the United States Senate, Maurice Dawkins in Virginia and Alan Keyes in Maryland, and several for the US House.
Black Republicans across the country are urging black voters to think Republican when they cast their ballots. They are appealing to disappointed Jesse Jackson Democrats to vote for Republican presidential candidate George Bush. They are telling them to buck the general tendency of black voters to stick with the Democratic Party.
A recent poll taken by the Gallup Organization for the Joint Center for Political Studies, a black think tank in Washington, D.C., shows that an increasing number of younger blacks say they identify with the Republican Party. Among all respondents, only 72 percent said they would support Mr. Dukakis. In a similar survey in 1984, 89 percent of those queried backed Walter Mondale.
``Our goal should be to get blacks involved in a two-party system,'' said Toye Lee Brown, a former White House aide under President Reagan. ``We can't afford to put all our ballots in one party's box. Then one party neglects us, and the other party ignores us.''
Black Republicans are also aiming to be part of the Bush-Quayle transition team (assuming that Mr. Bush wins). They are asking blacks to do their homework and provide the party with black party members capable of filling top posts in the new administration.
They are encouraging Bush forces to form a high-level cadre of top-level blacks to advise the new administration on minority issues.
In Boston, black Republicans held a press conference pledging their loyalty to the Bush-Quayle ticket in response to a recent series of appearances by the Rev. Mr. Jackson in New England, including several with Governor Dukakis in and around Boston.
The Bush campaign supports the economic, education, and women's issues that help minorities, says Agnes Moore, a ``lifetime'' Republican from Boston. ``George Bush is committed, sympathetic, and able to help us improve our status as productive citizens,'' she says. ``He can bring minorities into the mainstream of the national economy.''
Edward Redd, another black Bay Stater, praised Bush as a man with a personal commitment to a positive civil rights agenda.
Ms. Brown praised Mrs. Bush:
``Barbara Bush is a very special lady. In Washington, D.C., she worked with the local Urban League. She worked with Operation Rescue, a tutorial program that helps black youth. She has been very responsive to minority problems.''
Mrs. Bush was also praised by other black Republicans for her work with Morehouse College in Atlanta and her work with minorities in Texas.
Although the senatorial races of Mr. Keyes in Maryland and Mr. Dawkins in Virginia have been publicized, neither black is considered a likely winner. Linda Williams, research analyst at the Joint Center for Political Studies, says both men are competing in ``no-win races.''
The Dawkins campaign against former Gov. Charles Robb appears to have little support. Polls suggest that he may lose by the widest margin of any senatorial contest this year.
Keyes has attracted a following and modest funds in Maryland, but he is given little chance of pulling an upset against the incumbent Democrat, Sen. Paul Sarbanes. A former assistant secretary of state under Reagan, Keyes is a colorful candidate, but critics say he might have attracted more voters if he had appealed to black Democrats to cross party lines and vote for him. President Reagan spoke at a $250-a-plate dinner, attended by 600 guests, in a successful fund raiser for Keyes. The National Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee has supported him with $314,000.
In another Virginia contest, Jerry Curry, a retired Army major general, is attempting to unseat incumbent US Rep. Owen Pickett in Richmond.
James Cummings is running behind in Indianapolis, but is given a chance to pull an upset. He is a former head of the National Black Republican Council. He has also served in the US Department of Housing and Urban Development during the current administration.
``I feel that my life of public service and my knowledge of the federal government make me a quality candidate for Congress,'' he says. Cummings also says he has the support of Sen. Dan Quayle, the GOP vice-presidential candidate.
In Newark, N.J., Republican Michael Webb is the underdog in his race with Democrat Donald Payne to win the congressional seat being vacated by retiring Democrat Peter Rodino Jr.
Ronald Crutcher of Akron, Ohio, also is fighting an uphill battle in his congressional race. In spite of the increased Republican activity in the presidential election, black candidates are not expected to benefit from the coattails of a favored Bush candidacy.