Republican National Committee taps Ken Blackwell and 2 other Ohioans for minority outreach effort


                    Ken Blackwell addresses supporters in this 2006 file photo from his unsuccessful campaign for Ohio governor.                                             (Associated Press file)



CLEVELAND, Ohio — Three Ohioans — former U.S. Rep. Steve Austria, former Secretary of State Ken Blackwell and Franklin County Auditor Clarence Mingo — are involved in a new Republican National Committee effort to build stronger relationships with minorities.

RNC Chairman Reince Priebus announced Monday in an email that he has established three advisory councils, one each to engage black, Hispanic and Asian-American voters.

Blackwell, also a former state treasurer and losing candidate for governor in 2006, will serve on the African-American Advisory Council. So will Mingo, long seen as a rising star in the Ohio Republican Party and a familiar face at the national level, too.

Austria, the first son of a Filipino immigrant elected to the U.S. House, will serve on the Asian-Pacific-American Advisory Council. The former Dayton-area lawmaker lost his seat two years ago after redistricting pitted him against fellow Republican Mike Turner.

“I want to ensure the Republican Party is building sincere relationships in every community across the country, and our advisory councils will help make that a reality,” Priebus said. “They are all leaders in their communities, and each council member brings a unique perspective. I look forward to working with them to grow the Republican Party.”

At the statewide level, no black politician in Ohio has been as successful as Blackwell has been. He made an unsuccessful play for Republican National Committee chairman in 2009. More recently he promoted a plan that would change the Electoral College’s winner-take-all format in Ohio and other presidential battlegrounds.

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