Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Governor J.C. Watts?

Newsmax reports:

OKLAHOMA CITY -- An unannounced visit to the state Capitol by former Republican Rep. J.C. Watts has lawmakers talking about the possibility he could be setting the stage to run for governor.

Watts, who came to the Capitol Monday, surprised a delegation of the Metropolitan Tulsa Chamber of Commerce last week by saying he is considering the race and will make a decision in 45 days.

Republican Rep. Mary Fallin of the 5th Congressional District has said she is running for the post, making the announcement at a meeting of Oklahoma County Democrats last Saturday.

Lt. Gov. Jari Askins has jumped into the race on the Democratic side, and Attorney General Drew Edmondson also has been campaigning, but has not officially announced.

On Monday, Fallin said one of the reasons for her early announcement was the need to get an early start on fundraising.

Watts gave no reason for his visit to the Capitol the same day, other than that he wanted to make some courtesy calls.

Among those he visited with was Senate President Pro Tem Glenn Coffee, R-Oklahoma City, and Rep. T.W. Shannon, R-Lawton, a former staffer when Watts was a congressman.

"I heard a lot of people ask him about it (the governor's race)," Shannon said. "He just kind of chuckled. I didn't hear a response one way or another."

Watts had previously not been mentioned on most lists as a gubernatorial possibility, partly because he has been busy heading the J.C. Watts Companies in Washington, D.C., a public affairs and consulting company.

"I know J.C., he's a serious guy," Shannon said. "When you get this stuff (politics) in your blood, it's hard to get it out. I don't think it was a coincidence that he was here."

A spokeswoman in Washington said Watts was traveling Tuesday and was unavailable for comment.

From Wikipedia:

Watts is the most recent black Republican to serve in Congress.

Watts was approached by several prominent Oklahoma Republicans and asked to run for a seat on the Oklahoma Corporation Commission. After defeating several other candidates in the state Republican primary, Watts won in November, 1990, and was the first African-American elected to statewide office in Oklahoma.

Four years later, Watts was again approached by prominent Oklahoma Republican leaders and asked to consider running for an open seat for Congress(Oklahoma's 4th Congressional district, being vacated by Congressman Dave McCurdy). Watts agreed and in November, 1994, was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. He was the first black member of Congress not to join the Congressional Black Caucus.

Watts captured national attention in 1996 with a speech before the Republican national convention, when he said, "You see character does count. For too long we have gotten by in a society that says the only thing right is to get by and the only thing wrong is to get caught. Character is doing what's right when nobody is looking.

Watts meeting with Secretary of State Colin Powell on September 2, 2003.

Continuing to be a rising star for the national Republican Party, Watts was selected in 1997 to deliver the Republican response to President Bill Clinton's State of the Union Address. In an interview with the Washington Post, Watts chastised some black Democrats and civil rights leaders as "race-hustling poverty pimps", whose careers he said depend on keeping blacks dependent on the government.

In 1998, Watts was chosen by the Republican House Leadership to be the chairman of the House Republican Conference, the fourth highest position of leadership in the House of Representatives (behind the Speaker, the Majority Leader, and the Majority Whip).

Although elected on a pledge to serve no more than two terms, Watts sought and won a fourth term in 2000. In 2002 he decided not to run for re-election, publicly citing a desire to spend more time with his family.

Watts then became chairman of GOPAC until he was succeeded February 1, 2007 by Maryland's former Lt. Governor Michael S. Steele. GOPAC was founded by Delaware Governor Pierre S. du Pont in 1978 in "an effort to build a farm team of Republican officeholders who could then run for congress or higher state offices later."

Other past Chairmen of GOPAC were: former Oklahoma Governor Frank Keating, California Congressman David Dreier, Arizona Congressman John Shadegg and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.

Watts has been critical of the Republican party's 2008 presidential candidates because they "don't show up" for black voters:

“Republicans want to say we reach out. But what we do instead is 60 days before an election, we'll spend some money on black radio and TV or buy an ad in Ebony and Jet, and that's our outreach. People read through that."

God bless J.C. Watts; a great voice for conservatives.

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1 comment:

  1. I'm an Okie from Muskogee and I love JC. I think that he has what it takes to lead our party during this dark time.