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Friday, June 13, 2014

Just bring up same-sex marriage and it'll all go famously


“It is a David and Goliath challenge,” Leo Smith says of his job. “It is hard, hard, hard, work.”
There can be few things in politics quite as difficult as persuading African Americans in Georgia to vote Republican.
“Traditionally there has been a divide,” Smith concedes. “You can look at Atlanta. Northern Atlanta: white, wealthy Republican. South Atlanta: mostly black, minority, Democrat, poor.”
Smith, 50, used to work in college admissions, recruiting minorities to almost exclusively white universities. Now he fulfils a similar role for the Peach State’s mostly white Republican Party. He recently sat down for an interview with the Guardian, giving an unvarnished insight into the challenges faced by the Georgia Republicans in their quest to attract minority voters.
The thrust of his job, he said, was to bring together Georgia’s Republican and African American worlds, which he acknowledges rarely overlap.
“I will take a candidate who needs to bridge that relationship and take him to a black church with me. I will say: ‘Hey, the first time we go, you’re just going to sit there. You’re not going to say anything and you’re not going to do anything.'”
At the next visit, Smith might encourage the Republican candidate to “share some chicken nuggets or something with the pastor”. But it won’t be until the third or fourth meeting, Smith said, that they will broach the possibility of an audience with the congregation.

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