December 9th, 2008
04:30 PM ET
12 years ago

Forbes takes a side in RNC race

[cnn-photo-caption image="" caption="Steve Forbes will serve as honorary chair in RNC campaign."]
CAMBRIDGE, Massachusetts (CNN) - Former presidential candidate Steve Forbes announced Tuesday he would serve as honorary chair of Ken Blackwell’s campaign to be the next Republican National Committee chairman, describing the former Ohio secretary of state as a “reliable conservative … who can broaden the appeal of the Republican Party.”

Forbes, who sought the GOP nomination in 1996 and 2000, declared his support in an afternoon email to RNC members.

“Ken brings a winning political record to the table, having been victorious 13 of the 17 times that his name has been listed on a primary or general election ballot,” Forbes wrote in the email. “The significance of his three successful statewide elections in Ohio as a Republican should not be understated.”

Forbes is the editor-in-chief of Forbes magazine.

Blackwell jumped into the race for RNC chair late last week, joining a crowded field of contenders interested in leading the national committee. RNC members are scheduled to convene in late January to vote for their next chair.

See the full text of Forbes email after the jump.


To: Republican National Committee Members
From: Steve Forbes
Date: December 9, 2008
Subject: Ken Blackwell for Chairman

Ken Blackwell is a courageous and extraordinary leader and longtime personal friend. I have served with Ken on the boards of a number of conservative political organizations and worked with him for many years. He is a loyal, competent, and sincere individual.

During your discussions about the future of our party and the election of a new RNC chairman, I ask you to please consider supporting Ken Blackwell.

Ken brings a winning political record to the table, having been victorious 13 of the 17 times that his name has been listed on a primary or general election ballot. The significance of his three successful statewide elections in Ohio as a Republican should not be understated.

Were we to make a list of the qualifications for a new chairman, we might agree on these five:

1) Someone who is a reliable conservative who has a record of standing up for our conservative principles;

2) Someone who can broaden the appeal of the Republican Party;

3) Someone who has a history of winning elections

4) Someone who has clearly established himself/herself as a successful fundraiser, and;

5) Someone who is an articulate and experienced spokesperson;

All five of these qualities are abundantly present in the life of Ken Blackwell.

Ken will be ready to lead our party on Day 1. He is well acquainted with Washington, but he has never become part of the system. He has ruggedly maintained his anti-establishment views and reform agenda. Simply put, Ken will affect Washington. It will not affect him. It never has.

For all of these reasons and more, I am pleased to inform you that I will serve as Honorary Chairman of the Ken Blackwell for RNC Chairman campaign.

In this capacity, and as a Republican voter from the state of New Jersey, I humbly ask you to vote for Ken Blackwell for Chairman.

Thank you for your service to our party.


Steve Forbes

Filed under: Uncategorized
soundoff (52 Responses)
  1. Rob Johnson

    Blackwell got beaten by a substantial margin in the last Ohio governor's race, and is largely responsible for Ohio turning blue.

    If the RNC make him their head, they might as well go ahead and nominate Sarah Palin for 2012 and get ready for a serious beating.

    December 9, 2008 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  2. Larry Craig

    Steve Forbes and Ken Blackwell...

    Man... that CANT be good.

    December 9, 2008 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  3. alvino

    Blackwell is more of the same old crap.

    December 9, 2008 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  4. Matt

    So what? Here's the thing: despite being a crazy leftist liberal, I still can't stand Oprah because I don't think having money, fame, a tv show, a magazine and/or a book club, etc., makes your opinion important and publishable in spite of you being an idiot. Forbes is just a male neocon Oprah.

    December 9, 2008 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  5. Earl from Ohio

    Ken Blackwell will broaden the Republican Party appeal?
    WOW! He will be about as broad as his poll numbers for Ohio ' Governor's race were high.

    Maybe he will finally leave Ohio!

    December 9, 2008 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  6. DOCS 3


    December 9, 2008 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  7. Milhouse van Houten

    It will interesting to see who ends up on Mr.Blackwells"GOP best and worst dressed".

    December 9, 2008 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  8. U R Nutz

    Blackwell only wins elections because he helps rig them. I mean the diebold machines. This is a known fact. Now there's a story really deserves more air time. Next, these guys are ultra right wing churchy conservatives with that fascist agenda. Yeah, I know you won't post this because you can't stand it when people send in true stuff they got from other news organizations and I don't mean Al Jezzerra.

    December 9, 2008 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  9. Bob

    Blackwell is a person who steals elections. I wouldn't vote for a dog catcher backed by the RNC headed by that man.

    December 9, 2008 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  10. Mike Dallas

    "5) Someone who is an articulate and experienced spokesperson;"

    That would appear to disqualify what's her face...

    December 9, 2008 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  11. mark

    Chicago: Rod Blagojevich – Obama – Sezko – Corruption – is the Audacity of Hoax

    December 9, 2008 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  12. The Austrian

    Forbes himself might be better. Not the solution, mind you. The GOP has MUCH more work to do before it can call itself conservative. But Forbes would be a step in the right direction.

    December 9, 2008 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  13. Franky

    "In this capacity, and as a Republican voter from the state of New Jersey, I humbly ask you to vote for Ken Blackwell for Chairman."

    Simple answer for me, no!!

    Just because he's talking about the same thing over and over doesn't mean is gonna be all better.

    You can talk the talk but you need to walk the walk for starters.

    December 9, 2008 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  14. Glenn Doty, Columbia, SC

    I'll preface my remarks by stating that I am most certainly not a republican, and have no concern whatsoever for who leads the republican party (until they repudiate entirely the direction they took the country for the last 8 years).

    But isn't Forbes the guy that got a total of ~1% of the vote when he ran? Seriously, is THIS the guy that you want to advise you of "who can broaden the appeal of the party"?

    I personally don't care. The republicans aren't likely to appeal to ME anytime soon... but this would be similar to Kucinich explaining to the democratic party how to broaden their appeal... The republicans need to consider the source of the advice here.

    December 9, 2008 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  15. ohiojimmy

    blackwell lost by the largest margin in history in a governor's election in our state,,,if the gop wants him,,,,please,please give him the job

    December 9, 2008 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  16. nom deplume

    Bullcrap. This party needs new blood and focus. Michael Steele is MORE than qualfied for this job, and represents the future. Blackwell is the past!

    December 9, 2008 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |


    December 9, 2008 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  18. Jackie in Dallas

    Somehow I can't see how "standing up for our conservative principles" and "broadening the appeal of the Republican Party" belong together in a list of prerequisites. It is perhaps time for the Republican Party to reengage their brains and do some hard soul-searching about what their conservative principles have wrought on the American people. I think a redefinition of the those principles are in order...

    December 9, 2008 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  19. kayla


    December 9, 2008 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  20. lovable liberal

    "He has ruggedly maintained his anti-establishment views and reform agenda."

    This is rich! Steve Forbes doesn't recognize that he and Ken Blackwell are both part of the establishment, especially Forbes himself.

    For conservatives like these, 'reform' means re-forming a lost golden age that never actually existed, although I guess the Robber Baron era is a pretty good model for them.

    December 9, 2008 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  21. Tony

    Forbes is so wrong, it's almost laughable. When Ken Blackwell ran for Ohio governor in 2006, he actually collapsed support for the GOP in our state by moving so far to the right that many deep red counties opted for Democrat Ted Strickland. I also fail to grasp the meaning of Forbes' attributed importance to Blackwell being elected as a Republican in Ohio. In the three elections which Blackwell won statewide - 1994, 1998, and 2002 - ALL of the members of the statewide GOP ticket won. They did so by having moderates, not red-meat conservatives, at the top of the ticket for governor.

    Look, if the GOP wants to elect Blackwell, then be my guest. It just means that the Republican Party will spend many more years in the wilderness so long as he (and more important - his far-right ideology s) is at the helm.

    December 9, 2008 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  22. montag

    As someone who nearly single-handedly stole the Ohio election for George Bush in 2004, Ken Blackwell is an ideal candidate for RNC chairman. He embodies all the rotten, dishonest qualities every good Republican needs for the job.

    Good choice, Forbes!

    December 9, 2008 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  23. Jonathan Burton

    Did you say Ken Blackwell?
    I am sorry but he has been involved in too many controvercial coverups. If you look into his past you will see a man short of temper, quick to anger, and as corrupt as a certain Governor from Illinios.
    Does the GOP really want a man as dirty and shameful as Ken Blackwell running the RNC?
    I dont think that Steve Forbes is thinking clearly.
    Ken Blackwell was in charge of elections for Ohio back in 2004.
    Back during the horrendous blunder that rocked Callahouga county and many others Ken Blackwell was at its epicenter. Ken Blackwell has enough dirt under his nails to plant a garden. Steve Forbes, you can't be serious!

    December 9, 2008 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  24. Marcus

    This is big – Steve Forbes is a great endorsement! Most importantly, Steve Forbes' stamp of approval means that he trusts Blackwell on fiscal conservative issues. There aren't many more conservatives whose names are synonymous with 'fiscal conservative,' but Steve Forbes is one of them. Further, we all know Ken Blackwell is a great social conservative. He's very active with the Heritage Foundation, NRA and He's also been working with the Club for Growth and National Taxpayers Union, so he's well-versed in the national conservative issues. I think Ken Blackwell would be a great choice to lead the RNC into the 21st century, and he would so by returning to the party's true roots.

    December 9, 2008 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  25. I'm Not Missing The Old Mule & Winky Half-baked Alaska

    The only thing reliable about Mr. Blackwell is his ability to cheat and corrupt.

    December 9, 2008 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
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