A tea party leader in Dallas is facing a backlash after saying the Republican Party doesn’t want African-American voters to show up at the polls.
“I’m going to be real honest with you,” Tea Party leader Ken Emanuelson said at a Dallas County Republican Party event on May 20. “The Republican Party doesn’t want black people to vote if they are going to vote 9-to-1 for Democrats.”
In a statement posted on Facebook, Emanuelson said he misspoke during the meeting. He said he shouldn’t have spoken on behalf of the Republican Party.
“What I meant, and should have said, is that it is not, in my personal opinion, in the interests of the Republican Party to spend its own time and energy working to generally increase the number of Democratic voters at the polls, and at this point in time, nine of every ten African American voters cast their votes for the Democratic Party,” he wrote.
“That said, I’ve been very clear, time and time again, that the Republican Party absolutely must expand and build bridges into all communities,” Emanuelson added. “I reiterated that same opinion at the same meeting.”
Republicans across the country have pushed for stricter voting regulations, such as voter ID laws, to protect against alleged voter fraud. A federal court last year blocked Texas from implementing its own voter ID law, ruling it would have a disproportionately negative impact on poor and minority voters.