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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Black Republicans say GOP can bridge racial divide



TAMPA — Chelsi Henry is relatively new to the Republican Party, but at age 24 she's already a rising star.

Over the past two years she's won an election in Jacksonville, served in a variety of conservative organizations and is now one of the relative few invited to attend the Republican National Convention.

Here, she stands out among a sea of white faces; Henry is black.

In the United States, roughly 85 percent of African-Americans identify as Democrats or left-leaning, according to the American National Election Studies. Only 6 percent said they were Republicans or included to the right. The Washington Post recently estimated that the Republican Party is 92 percent white and that among the remaining 8 percent, blacks were an almost imperceptible sliver.

Although the Republican National Convention does not keep demographic data on delegates, a visual survey of the convention floor bears those generalities out. Each state sent dozens of representatives, but only a few African-Americans dot the room.

Henry said she doesn't think about race when she's out participating in Republican events and has always felt embraced by her party.

"I happen to be an African-American, but that's not all of who I am," she said. "... And what matters most to each and every one of these individuals is that we stand by the Republican platform and values."

Read more here.

[Last modified: Wednesday, August 29, 2012 8:36am]


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