Over the weekend, Family Research Council fellow Ken Blackwell announced that he was seeking to become the next chairman of the Republican National Committee:
Ken Blackwell, a former U.N. ambassador and former Ohio secretary of state, has become the second black man to plunge into the heated contest for Republican National Committee chairman, The Washington Times has learned.
Mr. Blackwell, 60, joins former Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele, the other black Republican seeking to be the next national chairman when the 168-member Republican National Committee meets Jan. 28-31 in Washington.
Mr. Blackwell has worked with economic, national security and religious conservatives in his party.
“I am a full-portfolio conservative,” Mr. Blackwell, 60, said in a phone interview Saturday from his home in Cincinnati. He noted that he is a board member of of the National Taxpayers Union, the Club for Growth and the National Rifle Association and holds fellowships at the Family Research Council and the Texas Public Policy Foundation.
In a letter to RNC members announcing his candidacy, Mr. Blackwell notes that he “vocally opposed tax increases offered” by his state’s Republican governor and “helped to successfully lead the fight to amend the Ohio Constitution to ban government recognition of same-sex marriages.”
Blackwell first made a name for himself back in 2006 when he linked up with the “Patriot Pastors” [PDF] in Ohio run by Rod Parsley and Russell Johnson:
It was during the Issue 1 campaign that Parsley and Johnson began a fruitful collaboration with the amendment’s chief proponent, Ohio Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell. Blackwell’s close association with Parsley and Johnson has continued since the passage of the anti-gay constitutional amendment, ranging from public rallies and “Patriot Pastors” policy briefings to flying on a church-owned plane.
With Blackwell’s gubernatorial campaign in full swing, the “Patriot Pastor” events have featured Johnson and Parsley highlighting Blackwell and extolling the candidate’s virtues. At a rally on the state Capitol steps, Parsley boomed over a Jumbotron screen, “Let the Reformation begin! Shout it like you’re going to carry the blood-stained banner of the cross of Christ the length and breadth of the Buckeye State!” Parsley then introduced Blackwell as “a man of great conviction, consistently standing for family, life, marriage, and faith throughout his public service.” At other events, Johnson followed Blackwell’s speech to pastors by presenting the man he called a “leader of leaders” with a “courageous leadership award” in the form of a large, gilded-eagle trophy—a ritual he repeated a number of times before different audiences of pastors.
I am proud to endorse Chip Saltsman for RNC Chair. Chip has proven to be a dynamic leader within the Republican Party over the years. His youth and experience are combinations that are vital to leading the Party into the 21st Century. Over the last two years I have seen Chip in action and have observed and admired his talents as a tactician and strategist. Chip Saltsman’s management of my Presidential campaign showed Chip’s skills to operate in a very frugal manner, something that will greatly benefit the RNC.
As the Party searches for the leadership skills necessary to lead the Republican Party forward I believe that they will find that Chip Saltsman is the right person for the position of RNC Chair. Chip’s technological skills will be an important part of his accomplishments with the RNC. The national party needs to function so as to empower and assist local and state party organizations and become a more ground-up, grassroots army. Chip Saltsman will bring energy and a willingness to listen and open doors to new ideas. I urge you to visit Chip’s website at www.chipsaltsman.com and learn more about this uniquely talented man.