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First Easy-E, now Russ.

August 22, 2006

I’d say that this could pretty much be considered a coup for the Republican party, an endorsement for a Republican candidate for statewide office by one of the most powerful African-Americans in the entertainment industry, Russel Simmons. Simmons recently held a fund raiser for Michael Steele, a candidate for Senate in MD, who is also African American. One might not find that so earth shaking, however Simmons also offered praise for the state’s Republican governor Ehrlich.

Simmons praised the two Republicans for their economic development strategies, as well as their positions on crime prevention.

It isn’t clear yet how much this means to the race as a practical matter. Steele should walk to victory in the primary (to be held in September). His opponent will either be former Congressman and head of the NAACP Kwesi Mfume or Congressman Ben Cardin. Depending on who wins the primary, Simmons support for Steele could either mean a lot, or dry up all together.

It is symbolic win for the GOP, to have Simmons, who has not tipped close to Republicans in the past, to extend a hand to a GOP candidate. Sure, Simmons and Steele are both successful businessmen and I imagine they have previously crossed paths. However, he was fairly effusive in his praise of Erhlich, who is getting his ass handed to him by his Democrat opponent. He suggested that GOP candidates are open to discussion in the African American community. Perhaps in the rarified air of the multi-millionare entreprenural African American community . . . .

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