August 04, 2004

IL GOP chooses Keyes to go up against Obama for US Senate seat

Today, Illinios Republicans chose two-time Republican Presidential candidate Alan Keyes to run against Democrat Barack Obama for the open US Senate seat there, producing the first black candidate versus black candidate race for a Senate seat in American history.

Keyes, a conservative commentator, ran unsuccessfully for U.S. Senate twice from his home state of Maryland and sought the Republican presidential nomination in 1996 and 2000. He has never lived in Illinois but under state law would only have to take up residence by election day, Nov. 2.

Obama, an Illinois state senator, gave a stirring speech at the Democratic convention that raised his stock with party members who see him as a future presidential candidate.

The GOP was forced to choose a new candidate after their elected nominee, Jack Ryan, withdrew his name from the race in the wake of a sex scandal which involved him and his ex-wife, television actress Jeri Ryan.

Illinois Republicans had previously courted former Chicago Bears coach Mike Ditka, who spurned their advances.

Keyes is staunchly conservative, running to the right of most Repulican candidates in his Presidential runs. Obama, on the other hand, is considered to be moderately liberal, receiving failing grades from both the National Rifle Association and the Federation for Right to Life.

This sets up an ideological battle in the Prairie State which some say will create an even larger turnout in what previously had been considered a lock for Democratic candidate Obama.

Posted by mhking at August 4, 2004 10:40 PM

This will still be a lock. Keyes will lose by double digits.

Posted by: Expertise at August 5, 2004 12:09 AM

I think you're right, but the debates will be something worth watching for everyone -- I, for one, am looking forward to them!

Posted by: mhking at August 5, 2004 12:13 AM

will admit to some staggering ignorance now.

Until I came across this blog and alarming news i had no idea that there were any Black congress and senatorial candidates who were both black and GOP. Not something the media over here mentions. Don't recall seeing anything on CNN when I am at home either.

question. I have come across Herman Cain and now this guy Keyes and obviously project 21. but how many black candidates are running for the GOP and roguhly what proportion of blacks vote GOP?

Posted by: Nick Saunders at August 5, 2004 05:33 AM

Not too many -- in 2000, about 9-10% of black voters cast votes for President Bush. It's anticipated that similar numbers will vote that way this year.

The percentage of black Republican candidates nationally is even smaller. There is a small handful of black Republican elected officials across the nation. The most notable ones would be Maryland Lieutenant Governor Michael Steele, Texas Railroad Commissioner Michael Williams and Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blanchard.

Gary Franks and J.C. Watts are black Republicans who have been members of the US House in the past ten years (from Connecticut & Oklahoma, respectively). The number of candidates for all three levels of office (national, state & local) is increasing with each election, and gains are being made on the local level increasingly across the country. But overall the numbers remain small.

Posted by: Michael King at August 5, 2004 07:20 AM

I think it was carpetbagging when Hillary did it, and I think this is the same. Bad decision imho.

Posted by: King of Fools at August 5, 2004 09:00 AM

I like Keyes a lot. I hope he accepts, despite the problems that will arise from the carpetbagging issue. I think he's tougher than that, and the best of the field they were looking at yesterday.

Posted by: Deb at August 5, 2004 01:08 PM

I like Keyes too. He makes a lot of sense.

Posted by: Jane at August 5, 2004 07:27 PM

"I deeply resent the destruction of federalism represented by Hillary Clinton's willingness to go into a state she doesn't even live in and pretend to represent people there," Alan Keyes on Fox News on March 17, 2000.

Posted by: jab at August 8, 2004 06:56 PM

Michael, I agree that Keyes will make for some excellent debates, but his candidacy is barely legitimate, even by his own standards (which Jab reminds us of in the previous comment). I will be especially interested to see how he justifies his own bit of carpetbaggery.

Posted by: Toby Petzold at August 8, 2004 08:23 PM
Post a comment

Remember personal info?