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Steele Backer Courts Mfume

Darlene Jackson wants Democrat Kweisi Mfume to consider supporting Republican Michael Steele for Senate, and wrote a startling open letter this morning to Mfume that she distributed to the group she heads, the Black Republican Council of Maryland.

In it, she says prominent black politicians -- including U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings and state Sen. Nathaniel McFadden (D-Baltimore) -- are "walking behind the mule" by supporting Democrat Benjamin Cardin.

Here's an excerpt of her letter:

"Walking behind the mule, these Black democrats got the blues. Michael C. Dawson, in his book Behind the Mule, asserts that 'the foundation of the blues is walking behind the mule way back in slavery time.' Therefore, I submit that Cummings, McFadden and the others need not to walk behind the mule. Mfume, your hard work, extending
over four decades, got rid of all that. Now, Cummings and his 2-live crew want to return to the mule."

Jackson's group has been a longtime advocate of Steele's, and routinely writes letters encouraging its membership to get on board the Steele campaign.

Jackson's letter yesterday praised Mfume for his strong showing in the Democratic primary. In predominately African American communities, Mfume won by wide magins, and lost overall by only two percentage points. That's been encouraging to Steele aides, who believe there is a strong desire among black voters to see Maryland send an African American to the U.S. Senate this year, regardless of party affiliation.

Jackson called it a positive sign that Mfume failed to attend Cardin's rally in front of Baltimore City Hall yesterday, where Cummings, McFadden and others pledged their support for the Democrat.

Mfume's reason for missing the rally was unclear. He has hinted strongly that he will be endorsing Cardin, and Cardin said at yesterday's rally he expects Mfume to announce his support soon. But his absence yesterday was noticed.

As Jackson put it, "No one saw you in front of Baltimore City Hall yesterday, shaking hands with the contender-pretender. The truth is the Maryland Democratic Party needs you, now. But why would it risk its loyal support to anoint all white men to the November ticket? Mfume, I say take your time and do what is best for your people even if it means crossing over."

By  |  September 20, 2006; 10:03 AM ET
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A "startling" letter, Matt? Why is it "startling"? Such editorializing by adjective should have no place in news reporting.

Posted by: MK | September 20, 2006 11:39 AM | Report abuse

It's a "startling" letter because it startled the "journalist" as he realized Michael Steele will be the new Senator from the State of Maryland.

Posted by: Rufus | September 20, 2006 12:08 PM | Report abuse

Let's stop making this election about race. I am a white male who voted for Mfume because he is a leader that inspires people and I hope that he will run again. Lets look at these men for what they have done not at the color of there skin. There is absolutely no similarity between Steele and Mfume other than race. Steele has never done anything except serve as Lt. Governor under a horrible administration. Mfume has served as a Congressman, head of the NAACP and much more. To think that he would support Steele just because of race is ridiculous.

Posted by: Bill | September 20, 2006 1:27 PM | Report abuse

Mfume and Cardin ran a great, dignified, issue oriented race for the Democratic nomination and MD Democrats would have been proud of either one as nominee. I don't believe that Mfume would support anyone but Ben Cardin because their views are just so similar. Former Congressman Mfume is way too smart to support the guy who is promoting puppies and fake smiles rather than issues and convictions.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 20, 2006 3:54 PM | Report abuse

What's "startling" is Jackson's inability to see through color lines and look at what's best for the people of Maryland. What exactly does she mean by "do what's best for your people?" His people are all the people of the state of Maryland, and I am confident he will work for them by backing Cardin

Posted by: Matt | September 20, 2006 4:28 PM | Report abuse

The race should be about the issues, but in Mfume's case he must hold someone accountable for what the Hoyer-Miller-Leirman team did to him in private with donors and other comments. Simms certainly remembers. Kweisi knows what I'm talking about if he reads this.

He won't stand up and chide them for doing what's wrong because the Mayor's spot will open. Martin's damaged goods after this election and Sheila Dixon stands no chance.

However, maybe Kweisi will stand up for his beliefs and tell Cardin what happened behind the scenes was wrong. Only time will tell.

Btw, what scheduling conflict could have been so important to prevent him from defending his friend after the whole Gruber-racist-blog incident?

Posted by: Bryan | September 20, 2006 6:00 PM | Report abuse

Survey USA has released the first post-primary poll. Hold onto your boots, lefties!! Steele gets 48% to Cardin's 47%, and takes 1/3 of the black vote.

Cardin had better come up with a way of explaining to black voters why they shouldn't feel slighted by the nomination of yet another white man.

Posted by: Brandon | September 20, 2006 11:04 PM | Report abuse

The race between Rep. Cardin and Lt. Gov. Steele will be nothing like the Democratic Primary. Too bad for all of us who live in Maryland. As an African American I voted for Rep. Cardin because I believe that he would win. While former Rep. Mfume would have been a great addition to the US Senate, I don't believe that he would not have made it. There must a reason why no African American has won an election one thier own merits in MD. Remember Lt. Gov. Steele won as a part of a team.

But I also wonder why the MD GOP passed on a tested candidate, State Sen. E.J. Pipkin to run Lt. Gov. Steele. Sen. Pipkin unseated a sitting Dem. State Sen. in 2002, and ran a decent race against Sen. Milkulski in 2004.

Lt. Gov. Steele's views are much closer to Sen. Pipkin's than to Mr. Mfume's.

I didn't vote for Sen. Pipkin in 2004.

I will vote for Rep. Cardin in 2006.

Posted by: Michael | September 20, 2006 11:12 PM | Report abuse

"There must a reason why no African American has won an election one thier own merits in MD."

Yeah, it's called racism, pure and simple.

Posted by: Rufus | September 21, 2006 7:09 AM | Report abuse

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