Politics

Black Caucus Awaits Allen West's 'Request'

New GOP congressman will 'absolutely' crash all-Democratic club on Capitol Hill
By: Kenric Ward | Posted: November 9, 2010 4:05 AM
Allen West Closeup 2

Allen West

Newly elected Rep. Allen West says he wants to join the Congressional Black Caucus. So far, the Republican has not been warmly embraced.

Ostensibly nonpartisan, though all 42 of its members are Democrats, CBC has yet to communicate with West, let alone congratulate him on his victory in Florida's 22nd Congressional District.

"We have not yet heard from anyone," West adviser Josh Grodin said on Monday.

At this point West isn't even sure if he's in or out.

"You would figure that being black is the only application one would need to join the CBC," Grodin said.

CBC officials in Washington did not respond to Sunshine State News' requests for comment by deadline. Nor did Reps. Corrine Brown or Alcee Hastings, two Florida members of the CBC.

West and the CBC clashed indirectly during the campaign when Hastings enlisted longtime CBC member Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., to stump for Rep. Ron Klein, D-Boca Raton. West ended up trouncing Klein by 10 points.

Late Monday, Lewis' office relayed a statement from the CBC that appeared to put the ball squarely in West's court.

"Membership in the Congressional Black Caucus has never been restricted to Democrats. Should either of the two African-American Republicans recently elected to the House of Representatives request membership in the Congressional Black Caucus, they will be welcomed," the unattributed CBC release stated.

The other new black GOP congressman is Tim Scott of South Carolina. Scott's office did not indicate his intentions.

Friction between black Republicans and the CBC dates back to 1994, when J.C. Watts was elected to Congress from Oklahoma. The former college football star chose not to join the group because of its slavish allegiance to the Democratic Party agenda.

"They said that I had sold out and (called me) Uncle Tom. But I have my thoughts. And I think they're race-hustling poverty pimps," Watts said at the time.

The caucus hasn't had a Republican member since Connecticut Rep. Gary Franks was defeated in 1996.

Regardless of the reception he receives, West told CNN Monday that he's "absolutely" going to join the CBC.

"I think I am more than qualified," he said. "I am a Congress-member-to-be. I am black, so I think I have every right to be a member of the Congressional Black Caucus unless all of a sudden before I get there, they decided to change the name."

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Contact Kenric Ward at kward@sunshinestatenews.com or at (772) 801-5341.


Comments (3)

JJ
8:23AM NOV 9TH 2010
Did you REALLY just write "because of its slavish allegiance to the Democratic Party agenda" about the CBC? Maybe "consistent" or "automatic" or even "unthinking" would have been a better adjective to use...
bb
1:07PM NOV 9TH 2010
yea... bad choice.
Brewster
8:57AM NOV 9TH 2010
The CBC is a racist organization. West should stay far away from those racist and pious peddlers of poverty. The CBC wants to keep the black man down and on their reservation for political power.

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