chapter  11
30 Pages

Th e “Steele Problem” and the New Republican Battle for Black Votes: Legacy, Loyalty, and Lexicon in Maryland’s 2006 Senate Contest


In the wake of the Civil Rights Movement, the Republican Party has had limited success in fi elding and stewarding Black candidates to electoral victory (Fauntroy 2007; Walton 1997). Th is has been especially true in U.S. Senate contests, where a Black Republican has not served since Massachusetts Senator Edward Brooke stepped down in 1979. Despite this, the Democratic Party was still deeply troubled by the 2006 senatorial campaign of Maryland Republican Lieutenant Governor Michael Steele, even though Maryland is a decisively blue state. And two days after Steele lost his bid to capture the open senate seat, thenDemocratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean, asserted “[we need diversity on the ticket so that], we do not have another Michael Steele problem” (Skalka 2006b).