Republicans do well in rural and exurban communities and are competitive with Democrats in the suburbs of major cities, but fall far short in urban areas. D.C. resident Ralph J. Chittams wants to put a stop to that.
Chittans, has served in senior-level positions with the D.C. Republican Party and ran for an at-large seat representing his party in the 2018 November general election, launched the Urban Red political action committee on Jan. 17 at the Elephants & Castle restaurant in Northwest.
Chittams, who lives in the Twinning section of Ward 7, aims to make Republican candidates in local elections more successful.
“There is a flaw in how the Republican party funds candidates for local offices as opposed to how the Democrats do that,” he said. “While Republicans do well in top-level positions, where we fail is down ballot. We need to do better in electing Republican mayors, council members, aldermen.”
Chittams said the Republican National Committee provides little assistance in local races and “those candidates need all the help they can get.”
For example, in the 2018 Maryland gubernatorial race, Republican incumbent Larry Hogan won with 55 percent of the vote but only received 31 percent in Baltimore, the Free State’s largest city.
Chittams said it is difficult for Republicans to win local elections in major cities such as Baltimore, D.C., Chicago, Boston, San Francisco and Atlanta, because many urban residents are minorities, women and young people who tend to vote Democratic.
However, Chittams said he has a plan to change that.
“We are compiling a wish list of one Republican candidate in the top 25 cities,” he said. “We will select Republicans to run in those cities and give them resources and money for a winning campaign. It is way past time for Republicans to re-engage urban America.”
Republican Ike Puzon ran for the Maryland State Senate, District 26 in Prince George’s County in 2018 against Democrat and ultimate victor Obie Patterson. District 26 has an urban feel to it, with African Americans making up 78 percent of the population and city-like areas such as Clinton, Fort Washington, Glassmanor, Camp Springs and Accokeek.
Puzon attended the launch of the political action committee and liked what he saw.
“I like the idea,” he said. “I think the party needs to be better coordinated in the cities and this may be a way to get to that.”