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Chief political reporter David Postman explores state, regional and national politics.

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June 23, 2008 11:52 AM

Republicans overthink race, while black voters go elsewhere

Posted by David Postman

NPR asked the question yesterday morning, “Where Did All of the African-American Candidates Go?” And by that, they mean all the black Republican candidates. It was only two years ago that Republicans had African-American candidates in high profile races for governorships in two states and for the U.S. Senate in Maryland.

But in a piece by Allison Keyes on Weekend Edition Sunday, it is clear that some of those candidates and other prominent African-Americans from the party say Republicans have not followed up with a concerted effort at minority voter outreach. As Michael Steele, the former Senate candidate put it, Republicans need to “stop overthinking this problem.”

I get the question all the all the time, how do we reach out? … Well, first off, stop asking the question and just do it.

Keyes' piece makes clear that there has not been a lot of visible progress within the party since 2005 when then-RNC Chairman Ken Mehlman went to the NAACP convention to make a notable public apology.

“Some Republicans gave up on winning the African-American vote, looking the other way or trying to benefit politically from racial polarization," Mehlman said at the annual convention of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. "I am here today as the Republican chairman to tell you we were wrong."

And, of course, the problem is made much more difficult in a year when Democrats will nominate an African-American for president.

Listen to the NPR piece here.

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