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  Ronald Reagan’s Unlikely Heir
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Last EditedSC Moose  Jan 27, 2006 01:26pm
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News DateFriday, January 27, 2006 04:00:00 PM UTC0:0
DescriptionKen Blackwell has just finished regaling a group of Ohio retailers with his vision of how to turn around the state’s struggling economy with a heavy dose of fiscal restraint and tax cuts. The crowd, accustomed to Republicans who tax and spend as furiously as Democrats, is rapt. But as Blackwell works the room afterward, on a warm fall afternoon in Columbus, one well-dressed woman stops him to outline her concerns. “I like your ideas on taxes,” she tells the former college football star, who at 6 foot 5 towers over her imposingly, “but I don’t like your other ideas so much”—meaning Blackwell’s strong pro-life positions and support of a constitutional amendment defining marriage as between a man and a woman. “I am not just an economic being,” Blackwell unapologetically replies. “I have a wider set of beliefs that I follow.” And then, before the woman moves away, Blackwell adds: “With me, you’ll always know what you are getting. You’ll always know where I stand.”

Right now, Ken Blackwell stands at a pivotal point in American politics. He’s taken an early lead in the race for governor of a state that was key to reelecting George W. Bush and that may well be even more crucial in picking the next American president. Moreover, Blackwell has built his early lead not by tacking toward the center of this swing state but by running on an uncompromisingly conservative platform that’s won him grassroots support from both Christian groups and taxpayer organizations—a novel coalition that makes the old-boy network in his own Ohio GOP as uneasy as it makes the state’s Democrats, who have begun a “stop Blackwell” campaign.

Ken Blackwell has so many people worried because he represents a new political calculus with the power to shake up American politics. For Blackwell is a fiscal and cultural conservative, a true heir of the Reagan revolution, who happens to be black, with the proven power to attract votes from across a startlingly w
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