Hot Air’s Ian Schwartz was in Baltimore tonight and captured video of hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons’ endorsement of GOP Senate candidate Michael Steele. It’s a highly significant event for the Steele campaign. Steele and Simmons became friends a few years ago “because the two share interests in minority entrepreneurship and housing,” reports WJLA. The Washington Times reports on Steele’s rising black support:
Mr. Simmons is scheduled to hold a fundraiser tonight at Baltimore’s Frederick Douglass-Isaac Myers Maritime Park for Mr. Steele, the lieutenant governor and the first black to win a statewide office in Maryland.
“Russell Simmons is one of the leading progressive voices in America,” said Donna Brazile, who managed Al Gore’s 2000 presidential campaign.
“This is a major endorsement for Lieutenant Governor Steele that will help him attract young people, as well as black voters,” Ms. Brazile said. “Once again, this should serve as a wake-up call to Democrats not to take their most loyal constituents and voters for granted.”
Mr. Simmons, who promoted the rap group Run-DMC in the 1980s and has since built a media and clothing empire, helped the Democratic Party register hundreds of thousands of voters via the Hip Hop Summit Action Network, which he co-founded in 2001.
Mr. Simmons “definitely represents the younger generation. … He’s a pioneer, and hip-hop has become one thing that defines black youths in this country,” said Tyrell Ruff, a 19-year old Baltimore native.
“Russell Simmons … would definitely get some votes for Mr. Steele. If you look at black kids in the city, many of them would probably be wearing something he made,” said Mr. Ruff, a sophomore at Trinity College in Hartford, Conn.
Cathy Hughes, founder and chairman of Radio One, the seventh-largest national radio conglomerate and the largest aimed at black audiences, also is supporting Mr. Steele and will attend tonight’s event.
“That’s huge,” said Eric Nelson, a 34-year old rapper and single father from Baltimore. “The tide is shifting.”
Which means it’s just a matter of time before the Chuckaquiddick Dems try and pull another dirty trick. Keep an eye out.
Paul Mirengoff at Power Line calls the endorsement a “Great Hip-Hop Forward” and notes:
In the past, apparently, Simmons has helped the Democratic Party register hundreds of thousands of voters via the Hip Hop Summit Action Network. Moreover, one of Steele’s potential opponents in November is Kweisi Mfume, an African-American who sits on the board of directors of Simmons’ political action group. But Simmons has decided to endorse Steele regardless of who his opponent will be.
Jason Smith: “Is it really a suprise that the party of Robert “KKK Kleagle” Byrd and DNC Chair Howard “Candidate for guys with Confederate flags in their pickup trucks” Dean, and the party that filibustered the Civil Rights Act, called the first black Secretary of State a “House Slave“, and whose last President never elevated racial minorities to positions of real power, could finally be losing some of the black vote?”