House Candidate Frazier: GOP Needs to ‘Engage in Black Communities’

By Jenny Schlesinger

Sep 21, 2010 2:24pm

ABC News’ Rick Klein reports: House candidate Ryan Frazier – one of several black Republicans who are running for seats in Congress this year – said today that the GOP can win support in African-American communities if candidates begin by simply asking for votes. “Show up. Engage. We know where to find folks,” Frazier, who is running against Rep. Earl Perlmutter, D-Colo., in a traditionally conservative seat in Colorado. “It’s like knocking on someone’s door. You know, someone will say, you know I voted for the other guy before, but because you knocked on my door, you have my support this time. We’ve got to do the same time of engagement — show up, talk about the issues, talk about how you create jobs.” No black Republicans have served in Congress since former Rep. J.C. Watts, R-Okla., retired in 2003. Frazier is among 13 black Republicans vying for House seats this year; several – including Frazier, Allen West in Florida, and Tim Scott in South Carolina – stand decent chances of winning.

Asked why it’s been so long since any black Republicans have won seats in the House or Senate, Frazier said: “I think it speaks largely to the fact that Republicans have not done enough to engage in black communities, in Hispanic communities, on the issues that they care about. And I think one thing I’ve tried to do in my campaign is reach out to everybody. And you know, I’m not afraid to show up to an NAACP meeting or Hispanics’ contractor meeting to talk about issue. And you know, half the battle is just showing up. And that’s one thing we as Republicans need to do a better job of.” Frazier said he’d consider joining the all-Democratic Congressional Black Caucus, if “I think I can have an effective voice in making that caucus better.” Frazier also indicated that while GOP efforts to coalesce behind an agenda are important, they are by no means critical to his campaign. “I think the relevancy of it is really more of the perception of what the American people clearly want from the Republicans — a party that is focused on solutions that will bring forth ideas as to how we get our economy on track, how we become more fiscally responsible to the people that we represent,” Frazier said. “And so from that perspective, I think it’s relevant, but from my personal perspective, on the ground from the 7th Congressional district of Colorado, you know it really comes down to the type of campaign that I run, talking about the issues that the folks in Colorado care about — which aren’t unlike what people all around America care about — but in a way which makes sense in Colorado.” Asked whether he anticipates supporting the agenda Republicans are set to roll out Thursday, Frazier said the “80-20 rule” would most likely apply. “Eighty percent of the time we agree, the other 20 percent of the time, we don’t. But I am going to run on a campaign that is important to the people of the 7th Congressional District for Colorado, and it’s going to be jobs, it’s going to be fiscal responsibility. It’s going to be providing them a Congress that is accountable to the people they represent.” He also said he’s not concerned about tea party candidates – including Colorado Senate candidate Ken Buck – influencing perceptions of the GOP more broadly. “I think in any party you’re going to have different candidates, and I think you have those who are more to the extreme than others,” Frazier said. “I don’t think that Ken Buck represents that — I know him, he’s a very even-keeled guy and sure, everybody time-to-time says something that can be taken out of context. But really, what I think you’re seeing in these candidates is a message of people who are fundamentally concerned with the direction of the country. They want more accountability from their government and they want folks who will actually listen to them. And I think that’s what you’re seeing with respect to all these upstarts in races across the country.”

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