If Harold wins the GOP primary and the race, she would become the first black Republican female elected to Congress. Harold isn’t the first black Republican woman to run for a Congressional seat. In 2012 Republican Saratoga Springs, Utah Mayor Mia Love ran for Congress and lost but she’s running again in 2014.
At a time when the face of the GOP is anything but “surprising and new,” to borrow from the Love Boat theme song, or reflective of the diverse face of America, the GOP should jumping for joy strong minority candidates like Harold want to run. Instead the message is “Don’t come aboard. We’re not expecting you. Nor do we want you.”
The sad thing about GOP Jim Allen types is he's not alone. Illinois Republican State Senator Kyle McCarter didn’t take kindly to Harold upsetting the good ole boys’ apple cart either, "I don't understand why” . . . “Someone like Erika, with as much promise as she has in the Republican Party, why target a young congressman who has done what we asked him to do?”
Why is Erika Harold running? Because she can, and more importantly, as Harold said, she feels she can “actually make a difference.” Isn’t that what primaries and politics are supposed to be about rather than the party bosses or establishment anointing candidates?
There are more than a few white Republicans who share the mentality that the GOP is the party of the white male. It’s called the Fear of the Black Republican and producer Kevin Williams explores this phenomenon in his documentary. The film demonstrates why the Republican Party is loath to run black candidates, particularly in urban cities, because the party thinks it will excite Democrat voter turnout in suburban districts, threatening GOP strongholds.
I think it’s progress Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus issued a statement demanding Jim Allen resign, but frankly that’s not enough. If the RNC would bother to start taking the conservative message to minority voters and identifying diverse candidates rather than spending eight months and a 100 page report talking about doing something, people might believe Jim Allen is a freak of nature in the GOP. Instead the face of the GOP continues to look more like Montgomery County, IL GOP Chairman Jim Allen, a “street walking,” racist buffoon.
Allen issued an apology and then resigned but he meant what he said and that’s the problem. You know the old saying “if you don’t have something nice to day, don’t say anything at all.” Maybe it’s time some Republicans just shut up and let others do the talking.