A couple of weeks ago, Politico ran a story about GOP House prospects. Of course the GOP is bullish and Politico is unquestioning. As almost a footnote to the story, the issue of the GOP's lack of diversity came up. The current GOP House membership is about 96% white and 90% male. On the issue of the Republican party's lack of diversity, Politico said the following:
Republican leaders recognize that their party is embarrassingly white, but they estimate that one-quarter of its top 100 candidates will be minorities. Cantor concedes the lack of diversity in his party today is a big concern.
I found the claim of GOP minority candidate recruitment interesting, so I decided to go the extra mile to check it out. While I don't have the research budget of a reporter for Politico, I can afford a phone line. I called the office of the minority whip and asked for a list of the twenty-two minority candidates not named in the article. After talking to GOP staffers and asking for a list of the candidates I have received no information. So the question is: where are the twenty-two minority GOP candidates? Anybody seen them?
Perhaps the missing twenty-two took a vacation through the Bermuda triangle. Perhaps they are out hiking the Appalachian trail. One place I can't seem to find them is in contested congressional districts.
There are the minority candidates that were brought to our attention via Politico:
First there is Van Tran, a candidate of Vietnamese descent running against the popular Congresswoman Lorretta Sanchez. The Politico piece failed to mention that Van Tran is on the outs in the local community due to his very unsuccessful red baiting of a very successful Supervisorial candidate also of Vietnamese descent. Tran added insult to injury by trying to oust the popular now incumbent Supervisor in the following election and again failed miserably.
Another candidate highlighted in the Politico article is Ryan Frazier who is running against incumbent Democrat Congressman Ed Perlmutter. The Politico story failed to mention that Frazier has publicly stated that he was not recruited for the race and is not a part of a larger Republican strategy. In fact Frazier joined the race against popular Ed Perlmutter (where Frazier will be outspent 3-to-1 in a largely Democratic District) after the GOP failed to support him for the seat he really wants and initially ran for -- that of US Senator.
This brings us to Jaime Herrera, the third minority candidate mentioned in the Politico article. Herrera is not missing like twenty-two of the other minority candidates but her fund raising figures are. Herrera's website contains none of the usual bragging about how much cash she has raised or that presumably that the GOP house machine has raised for her. Another item noticeably missing from the Herrera's' website are any endorsements from Latino community leaders or Latino elected officials, which is odd for an incumbent state senator who the GOP is touting as a banner carrier for diversity.
Hopefully for conservatives, the three named candidates of the twenty five minority GOP recruits are not representative of the lot. Maybe the unnamed Republican leaders that mentioned them wanted to highlight their weakest prospects and the missing twenty two are superstars.
I will stay on the lookout for the missing twenty-two. Maybe they are in a training with JC Watts, a former GOP African-American Congressman who openly discussed his difficulty dealing with the 93% Anglo GOP, or maybe they are picking the brain of former Senator Mel Martinez, who vented his frustration at the GOP 's lack of sensitivity on Latino issues to anyone who would listen. Or maybe Micheal Steele is telling them how to wear their caps. The missing twenty-two must be out there somewhere; Republican leaders said it and I read it in Politico.