First, a bit of background. For the past several months, Battleground Texas has been laying the groundwork for a Democratic takeover of Texas. It will be a long process, requiring the development of the on-the-ground political infrastructure needed to reliably turn out Democrats to vote, Latino ones especially. So far, the effort has consisted of some behind-the-scenes organizing and a slew of meetings in various parts of the state.
So far, Republicans have responded mainly by using Battleground Texas as a blue-tinted boogeyman to frighten donors into making campaign contributions. Attorney General Greg Abbott, for instance, called the group more dangerous than North Korea. And the local GOP has launched Battlefield Dallas, an effort to turn Dallas County red.
And that brings us to Dallas Tea Partier Ken Emanuelson. Battleground Texas is passing around an audio clip of him today speaking at a May meeting of Battlefield Dallas that also featured state Republican Party Chairman Steve Munisteri:
"I'm going to be real honest with you," he says. "The Republican Party doesn't want black people to vote if they're going to vote..."
Emanuelson hasn't backed away from his comments which, to be fair, are somewhat less egregious when you tack on the "...if they're going to vote 9-1 for Democrats" Battleground Texas omits from his press release.
@bluebryan24 Yeah, that's me.
— Ken Emanuelson (@mrclean2012) June 4, 2013
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And, really, the underlying message -- that Republicans would rather Democrats stay home on election day -- isn't particularly shocking. It's just that Emanuelson phrased it in such a remarkably inartful way.
Update: Emanuelson sent a statement to the Morning News clarifying his quote:
I expressed a personal opinion about what the Republican Party "wants." That was a mistake. I hold no position of authority within the Republican Party and it wasn't my place to opine on behalf of the desires 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.
"That said, I've been very clear, time and time again, that the Republican Party absolutely must expand and build bridges into all communities. I reiterated that same opinion at the same meeting. For whatever reason, Rep. Veasey chose not to include that information in his email, but I look forward to opening a dialogue with Rep. Veasey on this issue.