Wednesday, October 08, 2003

NAACP accused of shutting out minority candidates

NAACP Shuts Out Minority Candidates (via Suman Palit)

According to this story in the Chicago Sun-Times The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) is shutting out two minority candidates running for the Senate in Illinois. Indian-American Dr. Chirinjeev Kathuria and Antonio Davis-Fairman, the only black Republican vying to succeed Sen. Peter Fitzgerald (R-Ill.) have been nixed from the NAACP debate, reportedly because they placed last in a public opinion poll the NAACP's Illinois State Conference commissioned to winnow down the crowd.

The civil rights organization decided to include only the top six candidates from each party in the two-hour debate. But Kathuria and state Sen. Steve Rauschenberger (R-Elgin) scoffed at that reasoning, arguing that the poll really showed the race was wide open. The candidate finishing first among each party's voters, Democrat Dan Hynes and Republican Jack Ryan, received just 10 percent apiece. The survey's margin of error was plus or minus 4.8 percentage points, making the results one big statistical tie. "Polling this early is bizarre and foolish," Rauschenberger said. "It just shows you that there is no front-runner."

Kathuria finished last on the GOP side with 1 percent, just behind Davis-Fairman, who got 2 percent. Half of each party's primary voters were undecided. Rauschenberger made the cut with 5 percent, but pledged to boycott the event unless Kathuria, Davis-Fairman and former state Rep. Jonathan Wright, who polled 2 percent, are allowed to participate. Davis-Fairman did not attend a news conference with Rauschenberger and Kathuria but issued a statement saying "the NAACP snub is part of the problem. It's the white-washing of our great party."

I'm all for keeping the debate participants to an acceptable level, but shouldn't the NAACP, as an issue group, be trying to be more inclusive of minority candidates, or is this too logical of a line of thinking?

To find out more about Kathuria, click here.


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