02/10/2009 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

GOP Weighs Electing First Black Chairman

As the nation is on the verge of inaugurating its first black president, the Republican Party is facing a telling choice: whether to elect its first black chairman.

The contest for Republican Party chairman comes as Republican leaders seek to figure out what the party stands for, as well as what face to put forward as it struggles to avoid shrinking into a party of Southern white men as the country grows increasingly diverse. Among the six candidates are four white men, including two from the South, and two blacks: Michael Steele, the former lieutenant governor of Maryland, and J. Kenneth Blackwell, the former Ohio secretary of state.

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