BET's "Cousin Jeff" Johnson of Rap City and Jeff Johnson Chronicles fame recently signed on to represent Ohio Gubernatorial candidate Kenneth Blackwell, who some suspect of helping George W. Bush "steal" the 2004 presidential election. The question remains however, if the television star's new role as Blackwell's campaign advocate to young and urban voters is worth the cost.
Since his endorsement Johnson, who owns a political consulting firm called Truth to Power, has been praised by a few who see his support of the Republican politician as a power move, and bashed by many more who are confused and upset by his latest alliance.
Blackwell, currently Ohio's Secretary of State, has been under an umbrella of suspicion after several well-documented voting irregularities occurred in Ohio during the 2004 presidential election which affected mostly poor and minority voters. At the time of the election, Blackwell was also serving as co-chair of the Ohio Committee to Re-Elect George Bush. Due to the incessant rumors and outright accusations of his involvement in "handing" Bush the election, today he continues to be vilified by many Democrats as nothing short of a black devil.
...with Strickland [Blackwell's opponent in the race] I see visionary rhetoric and with Blackwell I see strategy. I hear Strickland saying he wants to support public education, but I don't hear him saying how. I hear him talking about economic development but I don't hear him saying how. I hear him talking about supporting black people, not necessarily within his agenda, but within some of his speeches, but he never showed what his agenda for black people is, nor does he have a record of hiring black people, nor does he have a record of encouraging black business, nor does he have a record of utilizing black contractors within the offices he's held. Blackwell on the flip side, even as a conservative -- somebody who supports vouchers, which I've never been a fan of -- I believe his 65 percent plan is a step in the right direction for public schools…a strategy that says we need to begin reforming public schools in a way where 65 % of every dollar follows the student. We don't see that in many other urban school centers. And if you did not know, Cleveland again was labeled the poorest city in the country. So we've got one of the poorest cities in the country, one of the worst public school systems in the country, and we need to begin having real conversations and strategies about reform and that's what I'm seeing from Blackwell's 65 % plan. As it relates to economic stimulus packages, and increasing jobs, he's hired on average 40 percent people of color on his own staff and with the state of Ohio in the positions that he's served in, from 27 to 42 percent of all the contracts that he's utilized state funds for have been with black firms, so this is not rhetoric that he's serving, this is substantiated fact.
There's a lot more; make sure that you check it out.