Matt Lewis

With no Republican president to be the face of the party, and with Minority Leaders McConnell and Boehner staying put, it is vital for the RNC to elect a chairman who can symbolize -- and implement -- the changes the GOP must embrace.

For this reason -- and others -- I am endorsing Ken Blackwell for RNC Chair.

My personal (I do not speak for anyone else at TH) endorsement is based on the following factors:

... Blackwell is highly qualified:  He has served as Undersecretary at HUD, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Human Rights Commission, Mayor of Cincinnati and Secretary of State of Ohio (just to name a few posts).

... Blackwell's fiscal and social conservative credentials are solid:  He is on the board of directors for the Club for Growth and National Taxpayers Union, and is also a fellow at Family Research Council.  Nobody can question his commitment to the conservative cause.

... Blackwell can raise money:  In 2006, he raised more than $12 million for his gubernatorial bid.  This is obviously an important attribute for an RNC Chair to possess.

... Blackwell is one of three official RNC Chair candidates to have signed-on to the RebuildTheParty.com 10-point plan.

... Blackwell is a frequent guest on Fox News, CNN, and MSNBC.  He has experience on TV, and will be an effective spokesman for the RNC as Republicans seek to re-build and re-brand.

I've met with -- or talked to -- all of the officially-declared RNC Chair candidates, and personally like them all.  It's fair to say that I have close friends and acquaintances who are vigorously supporting each of the candidates.  As a native Marylander, I would be proud to see Michael Steele in this  post.  And it's also fair to say that Saul Anuzis -- who has aggressively embraced technology like Twitter -- would be fun to watch.  But while each candidate has something to offer, Ken Blackwell is the only candidate to combine each of qualities (listed above) that I'm looking for in a new RNC Chair.

Some will predictably point to Blackwell's 2006 gubernatorial loss as the reason Blackwell should not be elected RNC Chair.  But losing his last race did not stop Howard Dean from becoming an effective DNC Chair, nor should it be used as a disqualifier for Blackwell -- or Steele -- for that matter.

Notes: I am under no illusion that the endorsement of a political blogger will influence any of the 168 RNC Members who will ultimately decide whom to elect.  But I have just made up my mind for whom to support (initially, I flirted with supporting Fred Thompson -- and others), and believe that it is appropriate to disclose this decision.  

Ken Blackwell is a contributing editor for Townhall.com.  I should also note again that a family member of mine has worked for him.

I still intend to cover the RNC Chair race, but will do so with the disclaimer attached that I have endorsed Blackwell.


Matt Lewis

Matt Lewis is conservative writer and blogger based in Alexandria, VA.

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