Local News

Black GOP Candidates Challenging Status Quo

Posted November 3, 2000

— As Election Day nears, some candidates are stepping up their campaigns for your vote. Durham, a longtime Democratic stronghold, was a Saturday battleground.

Activists added politics to the mix at North Carolina Central University's homecoming parade. African-American voters have a long-standing tradition of supporting Democrats, and party leaders hope they will vote a straight ticket on Tuesday.

But the entry of African-American Republicans in high-profile races is challenging political traditions in the black community.

African-American voters have helped elect DemocratDavid Priceto Congress six times. But his opponent, RepublicanJess Ward, hopes black voters will take a closer look at the GOP.

"In the vice-presidential selection, the Democratic party didn't even bother to float a black name in the media," Ward says. "That's a lack of respect for the community."

Price does not think Ward will cut into his support among black voters. But in the final days before the election, he is taking nothing for granted.

"We're just out there running as hard as we know how, just like we do every two years," he says.

RepublicanHenry McKoyis also shaking up the status quo as a black GOP candidate for state treasurer against Democrat Richard Moore.

McKoy believes African-Americans will have a stronger voice in government if political parties have to compete for the black vote.

"I talk about the importance of blacks being represented by both parties," he says. "I talk about the fact that North Carolina may have been a Democratic state once, but it's a two-party state now."

No matter who is elected on Tuesday, candidates say this election could be a turning point for African-American voters. From now on, both Democrats and Republicans will have to court the black vote.

Fifteen African-Americans are running as Republicans in North Carolina this year.

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