Local Politics

Minority recruiters say Republican party as their interest at heart

Posted September 3, 2008

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— The Republican party has long struggled to bring in minority votes. This election year is especially difficult for GOP candidate John McCain. Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama is is expected to get about 90 percent of the black vote. However, WRAL News talked to three North Carolina voters Tuesday who say it is the Republican Party that has the interests of African-Americans at heart.

“This is a party that's going to help me help myself,” Cecilia Taylor said.

Taylor, Tim Johnson and Jimmy Bention are minority recruiters for the North Carolina Republican Party.

“The Republican party's idea is this: Give a man a fish he'll eat for a day. Teach him to fish and he'll eat for a lifetime,” Taylor said.

The recruiters say African-Americans have a longer history with the GOP than the Democratic Party.

“In 1868, blacks attended the Republican convention. In 1936, blacks first came to the Democratic convention,” Johnson said.

“Our fundamental principles of the Republican Party line up with who see ourselves as Christian. The black community is pro-life, for the most part. The black community does believe that a man and a woman composes a marriage,” Johnson said.

“There is a difference in philosophy that led eventually to my understanding that I align with the Republican Party's way of thinking,”  Bention said.

However, the recruiters are clearly in the minority, as they try to increase their numbers.

“We don't walk around with a tag that I'm the minority affairs recruiter, and we're trying to bring in more blacks in the Republican Party,”  Johnson said. “All of us can defend ourselves and we always have to, because people always say why are you Republican? But I don't go and ask democrats and say, 'why are you Democrat?"

The recruiters have no delusions about the upcoming election. They don't expect McCain to compete with Obama for the African-American vote, but they hope one day to have a legitimate shot at those voters.

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