Pundit: Blackwell a Bad Fit for RNC Job

Salon.com’s always excellent War Room blog doesn’t think much of Ken Blackwell’s bid to become the Republican National Committee’s next chairman.—-

Blackwell is the Cincinnati native, former City Council member and mayor who ran unsuccessfully as the GOP candidate for Ohio governor in 2006, while serving as Ohio’s Secretary of State. He’s best known nationally for his alleged role in voter suppression efforts and allowing voting irregularities in the state during the 2004 presidential election while serving in dual roles as the state’s chief elections official and as co-chairman of George W. Bush’s reelection committee.

Salon.com writer Alex Koppelman said Blackwell — along with the five other current contenders for the RNC job — probably wouldn’t serve the party’s best interests at the moment.

In a breakdown of the candidates, Koppelman writes, “None hail from New England or the Mountain West, two areas where Republicans have been losing ground and badly need a comeback. Not one is Hispanic, even though that demographic group will be key to future races. And only two of them have a record of significant wins. Most, in fact, have a history of losing big races.”

That latter description includes Blackwell. Here’s what Salon had to say about him.

“Yes, he's had some successes. He was a member of Cincinnati’s City Council, then its mayor, and he was elected Ohio’s state treasurer and won two terms as its secretary of state. But he wasn't actually elected mayor; at the time, the mayor was chosen by the city council from among its members. He lost a 1990 race for a seat in the House of Representatives, and in 2006 his one try at a statewide office with a higher profile ended in an embarrassing defeat, as he lost his bid to become governor by an astounding 23 percentage points.”

Koppelman continued, “On top of that, the backing Blackwell’s gotten from key social conservative leaders seems to indicate his election would mean more of the same from the party — not a good thing for its prospects at the ballot box.”

Since his gubernatorial defeat in 2006, Blackwell has fellowships with two conservative policy think tanks, the Family Research Council in Washington, D.C., and the Buckeye Institute in Columbus.

Also, Blackwell made headlines and propped up his conservative credentials when he criticized Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland, the Democrat who defeated him, for cutting state funding to teach abstinence-only sex education programs for schoolchildren. He made the remarks during a luncheon speech before the Healthy Marriage Collaboration of Central Ohio.

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