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. paul (staunch Moderate)

    Marcus: If Blackwell is also a great social conservative let's please count him out. I'm all for a smaller government – however that includes keeping it out of my personal life! I do not want, nor need, Big Brother forcing me to go along with someone else's religious beliefs. That sense of "social conservatism" is what is helping the GOP to tank.

    December 9, 2008 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  2. Mike from Ohio

    Ken Blackwell should be in jail for what he did in 2004. He is a disgrace and does not deserve the right to call himself an American.

    December 9, 2008 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  3. missy, ohio

    GOP you are still shooting yourself in the foot and you can not walk already when will this end stop it. Blackwell is one of the most hated man in the state of Ohio. People don't forget not to long ago he gave Bush Ohio something we Buckeyes do not forget also we ran he wife out of the Ohio school system. Please go away and go away fast no we do not want to recycle you all.

    December 9, 2008 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  4. Matt

    Thus speaketh the male neocon version of Oprah.

    December 9, 2008 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  5. ken

    no, Old white dude's time is over!

    December 9, 2008 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  6. Roofin Reality, Houston, Tx.

    Isn't Ken Blackwell the same guy who was Sec'y of State in Ohio in 2004?
    And wasn't it the Sec'y of State in Ohio who "allowed" some very fishy things to take place wherein President Bush ended up winning Ohio to get reelected?
    Sounds like a perfect guy to run the RNC.
    Especially if you want to have another run of the Bush legacy.

    December 9, 2008 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  7. mike

    Blackwell the guy who could not stop bad mouthing Obama on CNN.....Looser!

    December 9, 2008 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |

    Hey, a ridiculous rich guy endorsing Republicans....

    Whoa.... that's new, eh?

    December 9, 2008 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  9. Seattle Sue

    I suppose this is his reward for throwing the race for Bush in 2004.

    December 9, 2008 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  10. PCS / North Carolina

    Yeah, try harder GOP. You may get 44% in 2016.

    December 9, 2008 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  11. sunshine

    not trust worthy.

    December 9, 2008 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  12. gc

    He is a good republican. He rigged the election in Ohio for them. I am soooo glad we kicked him and his buddies out! We have our state and country back:)

    December 9, 2008 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  13. Certain death of the Republican party!


    Don't do it, trust me, I live in Ohio...kick this guy to the curb, Republicans! Send him out with the gays, and tell them ALL to keep walking once they leave!

    I'm not a Republican, but I guarantee you if you put Blackwell in charge, you'll see the death of the party! DON'T DO IT!!!


    December 9, 2008 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  14. Lilarose in Bandon, Oregon

    About "conservatives."

    I was really taken aback when I heard that the Blackwater Five killers of innocent Iraqis surrendered in Utah this week.

    The reason was that they expect a better outcome by Utah juries because Utah is a conservative state and pro-gun and thus the juries will not think the slaughter of 17 people and injury of scores of others is as big a deal as the charges against them.

    As it is, these killers are getting charged only with manslaughter, not cold-blooded murder that they committed.

    There was a sixth perp, and he confessed and is being sentenced. Wonder why HE confessed and the others say they were not involved at all.

    I am glad I am not "conservative."

    December 9, 2008 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  15. sick n tired

    Just what the Republicans need! Another " How to get rich and stay that way at all cost" expert! What a bunch of LOST SOULS!!!!!

    December 9, 2008 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  16. Colin the Salesman

    Since when has Forbes ever been mainstream in any aspect of his politics? Forbes has the luxury of maintaining his idealogical purity because he can always return to the magazine his father grew, and not have to worry about really answering to anyone. Mr. Blackwell, by contrrast, has shown how limited his appeal is by adhering to positions that don't stand the test of an election. He only won his previous positions by running for offices that were so limited in power that his extremist views were not likely to annoy a significant portion of the electorate.

    Forbes seems to forget that inheriting a job and a fortune do not qualifiy you to lead anymore than espousing extremist views make you broad-minded. In other words, give it up Steve, or accept reality and become a little more tolerant.

    December 9, 2008 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  17. Joman

    The Republican Party just doesn't get it do they?

    In the Post-Florida Supreme Court Coup Internet Age, election corruption is no longer acceptable – nor possible to cover up. Election Year 2008 proved it.

    To put Blackwell at the head of the RNC after what he did to the Ohio vote in 2004 is beyond belief. Its right up there with Sarah Palin as VP, only its worse, its overtly rewarding criminal behavior. What's next, Karl Rove for President?

    Instead of heralding Blackwell for his ability to win – how about revitalizing the party to lead with someone who embodies credibility , intelligence, moderation and humanity?

    On second thought – please do put Blackwell in the RNC – it will ensure our governance by rational alternatives to the GOP...

    December 9, 2008 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  18. Peter (CA)

    Let's remember: Forbes wasn't allowed to do much of anything, even at his father's magazine until his father died and he inherited it all.

    It is amazing to listen to guys like this tell us all about how things should be. What a hypocrite!

    December 9, 2008 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  19. neal Brown

    Blackwell is a thug operative that helped cage votes for Bush. No mention of this corruption CNN? C'mon!

    December 9, 2008 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  20. Lisa Vilen

    Ohh, I see a Palin Blackwell duke-out for the Republican nomination in 2012! They'll be trying to one-up each other in the who-can-be-the-most conservative market(place of ideas).

    December 9, 2008 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  21. Think before you Speak !!!

    Mike from Ohio December 9th, 2008 6:32 pm ET
    Ken Blackwell should be in jail for what he did in 2004. He is a disgrace and does not deserve the right to call himself an American.

    December 9, 2008 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  22. proudliberal-independent

    he is an irritating whiner.

    December 9, 2008 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  23. reginald smith fairfax va

    FORBES knows he can control blackwell. thats why he is backing him. blackwell will have to do what forbes says .he will be a puppet

    December 9, 2008 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
  24. dave

    The illionis Governor a threat to Palin 2012 run. Say it ant so!

    December 9, 2008 09:05 pm at 9:05 pm |
  25. Mike in Cincinnati

    Those of us in Ohio know Ken Blackwell all too well. This is a terrible idea.

    December 9, 2008 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
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