Radio ad aims to break black vote from democrats
ANNAPOLIS, Md. — A black Republican running for U.S. Senate in Maryland, Lt. Gov. Michael Steele, disavowed last Thursday a radio advertisement that accuses Democrats of starting the Ku Klux Klan and being hostile to black people in the past.
The Washington-based National Black Republican Association’s ad says Democrats “started the Ku Klux Klan” and that they have “bamboozled” black voters. The ad did not mention Steele or his Democratic opponent, Rep. Ben Cardin.
Steele called for the organization to stop running the ad. In a statement, he said it was “insulting to Marylanders and should come down immediately.”
The president of the NBRA, Frances Rice, did not return calls for comment.
It was not immediately clear on which stations the 60-second ad was airing or how long it had been running, although, a news release on the group’s Web site dated two weeks ago announced its release. The Washington Post reported for a story in last Thursday’s edition that the ad was running on Baltimore stations.
The spot, a conversation between two women, includes one saying, “Democrats passed those black codes and Jim Crow laws. Democrats started the Ku Klux Klan.” “The Klan?” the other woman replies. “White hoods and sheets?”
The first woman also says, “Democrats fought all civil rights legislation from the 1860s to the 1960s. Democrats released those vicious dogs and fire hoses on blacks.”
The ad asserts that “Democrats want to keep us poor while voting only Democrat” and, “Democrats want us to accept same-sex marriages, teen abortions without a parent’s consent and suing the Boy Scouts for saying ‘God’ in their pledge.”
About the GOP, the ad says “Republicans freed us from slavery and put our right to vote in the constitution.”
The national black Republican group was founded a year ago to “be a resource for the black community on Republican ideals and promote the traditional values of the black community,” according to its web site.
Race is a prominent theme in the Maryland race for the seat held by the retiring Sen. Paul Sarbanes, D-Md. Steele, the first black candidate elected statewide in Maryland, faces a white Democrat in a heavily Democratic state with the highest percentage of black residents – 29 percent – of any state outside the South. Cardin fired a staffer last week who made racially charged comments on her personal Web log about Steele, a black campaign worker and Cardin’s Jewish supporters.
Several Maryland black Democrats have endorsed Cardin, including former congressman Kweisi Mfume, who narrowly lost the Democratic primary last week to Cardin. But Steele has announced plans to seek the votes of black Democrats and planned to attend a rally Thursday in Baltimore to seek their support.