Newsmax's 50 Most Influential African-American Republicans
By Frances Rice
Ben Carson (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images), Alveda King (Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images), Clarence Thomas (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
According to the most recent United States census data, there are nearly 325 million people in the United States, and the voting age population exceeds 235.2 million, with African-Americans comprising 12.5 percent.
A poll by the Joint Center for Policy and Economic Studies reveals that 10 percent of African-Americans, or 2.94 million, voted Republican in the 2014 congressional elections — proving they are more than a “statistical rarity.”
The people who made Newsmax’s 50 Most Influential African-American Republicans list this year went beyond just being recognized personalities. They actively promote the Republican Party’s rich civil rights legacy and agenda for delivering prosperity, security, and freedom for every neighborhood in America, thereby, enhancing the party’s image.
The activists on this list boldly point out how Democrats have run black communities for more than 60 years with policies that have not produced economic prosperity. This key message inspired more African-Americans to choose leaders based on policy content, not merely party label.
Here are Newsmax’s 50 Most Influential African-American Republicans:
1. Dr. Ben Carson — The famed, retired neurosurgeon and accomplished author gained a political following after his public criticism of former President Barack Obama’s healthcare plan, which carried him into the into the 2016 presidential campaign. Although Carson bowed out during the Republican primary, he became a campaign surrogate for eventual Republican President-elect Donald Trump. Carson, an American success story that began in inner-city Detroit as told in his autobiography “Gifted Hands,” became an obvious choice for Trump’s Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.
2. Clarence Thomas — He is currently the second-longest serving Supreme Court justice since he was appointed in 1991. In addition to merely interpreting the Constitution as it dictates the law of the land, he has also advised President Donald Trump on selecting constitutional originalists as Supreme Court nominees.
3. Alveda King — A niece of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., King is a former representative of the 28th District in the Georgia House, but she is also a bestselling author, a minister, and frequent Fox News Channel contributor. King is a dedicated pro-life advocate and director of Civil Rights for the Unborn. In addition to having been an educator, entertainer, and legislator, she is also a long-time Newsmax Insider.
4. Katrina Pierson — Capitalizing on her experience as a Tea Party spokeswoman and former Texas congressional candidate, Pierson became the national spokeswoman for Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.
5. Darrell Scott — This dynamic Cleveland, Ohio, pastor was selected to be a member of President-elect Trump’s White House transition team after all the bridge-building work he did promoting Trump’s campaign message with African-American voters as National Diversity Coalition for Trump CEO.
6. Bruce LeVell — A business leader and fixture in Georgia Republican politics, LeVell worked as the executive director of the National Diversity Coalition For Trump and promoted legislative reforms beneficial to small-business owners. The former Gwinnett County Republican Party chairman is now mounting a campaign for Georgia’s 6th Congressional District.
7. Omarosa Manigault — Since appearing on the “The Apprentice,” she has become an important figure in Trump’s circle of influence. During his campaign, Trump tasked her with directing his African-American outreach. Manigault, who holds a Ph.D. in communications, has since transitioned into a White House communications role. She was also recently “honored to serve” on NAACP’s nominating committee for its 2017 Image Awards.
8. Herman Cain — A Fortune 500 business leader, Cain emerged as a 2012 presidential candidate; afterward he worked as a Fox News Channel contributor and promoted the use of free enterprise policies for urban revitalization. Currently, Cain can be heard broadcasting conservative knowledge throughout the nation weekdays on his eponymous, midmorning radio show, taking over Neal Boortz’s coveted time slot when the talk radio icon retired.
9. Tim Scott — Before becoming the junior senator from South Carolina, Scott served the state in the U.S. House of Representatives from 2011 to 2013. His milestone arrival in Washington, D.C., made him the first African-American Southern senator since the days of Reconstruction, and he is the first African-American to serve in both the U.S. House and Senate.
10. Thomas Sowell — An author, economist, social theorist, and political philosopher, Sowell is the Rose and Milton Friedman Senior Fellow on Public Policy at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution. His studious but accessible writings have championed free enterprise as the most effective means for creating prosperity for average Americans.
11. Shannon Reeves — Currently a political scientist and professor working toward his Ph.D. in Alabama, he was the former president and executive director of the NAACP chapter in Oakland, California. Before leaving California, Reeves became the Secretary of the California Republican Party and the highest-ranking, elected African-American in the state. Reeves is the former national director of state and local development for the Republican National Committee.
12. Telly Lovelace — He is a communications strategist who ascended to national director of black initiatives for the Republican National Committee, where he orchestrated enhanced visibility of the Republican Party message with urban media. Currently, Lovelace is the managing director and a crisis communications expert at a D.C.-area boutique PR firm.
13. T.W. Shannon — At 34, Shannon was Oklahoma’s youngest-ever Speaker of the House when he took office in 2013. He also claimed the distinction of being the first Chickasaw and African-American to hold the post. As Oklahoma’s speaker, he was also the first Republican to lead a legislative body since the Reconstruction. Shannon is currently a fellow at Harvard University’s Institute of Politics.
14. Elroy Sailor — A political strategist, Sailor is CEO and a co-founder of Watts Partners, a government and corporate relations firm, and the largest African-American owned lobbying company in Washington, D.C. He was a senior advisor for the 2016 Rand Paul presidential campaign and a senior advisor for the Republican National Committee chairman and worked with the Trump transition team to prepare nominees for confirmation hearings.
15. Larry Elder — A former lawyer, the self-proclaimed “Sage from South Central” has been dropping knowledge the better part of three decades on TV and radio and in the multiple books he’s written.
16. Lynne Patton — She is the vice president of the Eric Trump Foundation and a longtime assistant to the Trump family. Her video "The Trump Family That I Know" — A Black Female Trump Executive Speaks, which was an open letter to voters that showed a different side of the candidate and his family, had more than 5 million YouTube views on the Defending the USA channel.
17. Ashley Bell — A lawyer, a former Hall County Georgia commissioner, and former Fox News radio host in the Atlanta area, Bell served as the national director of African-American political engagement for the Republican National Committee. He was of a handful of African-Americans invited to commemorate Black History Month with President Trump; Bell has since been appointed as special assistant to the Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.
18. Vernon Robinson — A former Winston-Salem City Council member and 2016 U.S. House of Representatives candidate from North Carolina, Robinson was the political director and fundraising force of the Draft Ben Carson super PAC, which more raised more than $17 million alone leading up to election with roughly three-quarters of the campaign cash coming during its 2014 launch year.
19. Paris Dennard— A former White House staffer under President George W. Bush, Dennard served as a public Liaison and as the administration’s director of black outreach. He now provides political commentary and analysis regularly on CNN and NPR.
20. James Evans — He is the first African-American to ascend to Utah state Senate and to the chair of the Utah Republican Party.
21. Star Parker — She is the founder and president of the Center for Urban Renewal and Education, a think tank that seeks market-based solutions to fight urban poverty. Parker is also a syndicated columnist, author, and sought-out speaker.
22. Kay Coles James — She is a former director of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management under President George W. Bush. James is returning to the White House as a leader in personnel policy matters for the Trump administration.
23. Renee Amoore — A nurse, a businesswoman, and former deputy chair of the Republican Party of Pennsylvania, she has championed the inclusion of health savings accounts as part of healthcare reform legislation. Amoore was invited to be a member of Trump’s transition team, specifically to work with the Department of Health and Human Services.
24. Kevin Jackson — A political writer, talk radio host, and a Fox News Channel contributor, Jackson has written three books on liberal politics and the currency of race.
25. Dr. Ada Fisher — A retired physician and Newsmax Insider, she ran to represent North Carolina in the Senate in 2002 and ran to go to Congress in 2004 and 2006. In 2008, Fisher ran for a seat in the North Carolina House of Representatives; while unsuccessful in that race, she was elected to represent North Carolina as its Republican national committeewoman, the first black woman to do so in the state. Fisher has been re-elected twice for four-year terms.
26. Deana Bass — A political strategist, she is a former deputy director of coalitions for the Republican National Committee and the former press secretary for the Dr. Ben Carson’s 2016 presidential campaign.
7. Jill Upson — A member of the West Virginia House of Delegates, she chairs both the Women’s Caucus and Minority Caucus. Upson is a member of The Well-Armed Woman Shooting Chapter. Since her freshman term in 2014, she has landed on many lists, calling her a rising star in the Republican Party.
28. Robert Woodson — A community leader and civil rights activist, Woodson is the founder and president of the Center for Neighborhood Enterprise. He has personally advised House Speaker Rep. Paul Ryan on free market-oriented solutions to address poverty. Before the post went to Dr. Ben Carson, Woodson was considered for HUD secretary.
29. Ken Blackwell — A former Ohio treasurer, secretary of state, and 2006 gubernatorial nominee, Blackwell has a thorough executive résumé — impressive enough to propel him onto Trump’s transition team overseeing domestic policy. The boards of directors where Blackwell sits reflect the president’s vision of the country: Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, Club for Growth, the International Foundation for Electoral Systems, the Law Enforcement Legal Defense Fund, and the National Rifle Association.
30. Deneen Borelli— An author, a Fox News Channel contributor, and FreedomWorks outreach director, Borelli is the chief political correspondent at Conservative Review.
31. Ward Connerly — A business leader and former University of California regent, Connerly is the president and founder of the American Civil Rights Institute, which has worked to end illegal discrimination by race in the name of affirmative action.
32. James "Bo Snerdley" Golden — The longtime call screener for talk radio giant Rush Limbaugh worked to change the disconnect of blacks being conservative, stating liberalism hurts African-American communities. Golden also performed bits on the radio show as “Official Obama Criticizer.”
33. Willie Talton — A former member of the Georgia General Assembly, in 2005, he was the first black Republican to be elected in Georgia since the Reconstruction.
34. Gloreatha "Glo" Scurry-Smith — A 2016 U.S. House of Representatives candidate from Florida advocated for a strong national defense and the equitable treatment of active duty military, veterans, and their families.
35. Elbert Guillory — After spending four decades as a defense attorney, Guillory served in the Louisiana House and Senate. He was named Legislator of the Year twice and elected to the Louisiana Justice Hall of Fame for his work in law and government. His YouTube video “Why I Am a Republican” was watched more than 1.4 million times.
36. Melvin Everson — A former member of the Georgia House of Representatives, Everson is currently the executive director of the Georgia Commission on Equal Opportunity. He has promoted technical college job training to enhance economic growth and match the right people with the right jobs.
37. Jason Riley — A member of The Wall Street Journal’s editorial board and columnist, Riley has also provided commentary to Fox News. Riley is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, where he offers his expertise on race, welfare policy, immigration, and children and family. He is the author of two books, with a new book forthcoming.
38. Deroy Murdock — He is a nationally syndicated columnist who is a popular speaker at think tanks worldwide. Murdock is a Newsmax Insiderin addition to a frequent guest at many media outlets vying for his insight.
39. Stacey Dash — An actress and recent Fox News Channel commentator, Dash detailed her struggles of being a conservative in Hollywood in her book “There Goes My Social Life: From Clueless to Conservative.”
40. Don King — A boxing promoter known for historic boxing matchups, King used his celebrity status to stump for President Trump and promote respect for our American flag and common-interest allies, especially Israel.
41. Clarence McKee — A legal and communications expert, McKee has been a vital part of the Republican platform since Ronald Reagan’s first presidential campaign. In addition to being a key figure in the political and business communities of D.C. and Florida, he provides valuable insight on politics and race as a Newsmax Insider.
42. Karl Malone — Otherwise known as “The Mailman,” Malone is a pro basketball Hall of Famer and former member of the National Rifle Association’s board of directors who’s advocated for our right to bear arms for protection in a series ads titled “I’m the NRA.”
43. Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson — Despite wild speculation and a fake, published announcement, which he did not make, Johnson is not running for president in 2020. However, the registered Republican has spoken at the GOP convention and has not been shy about discussing a run for political office in the future. The Hollywood star and former pro wrestler has a megawatt smile that would bring charisma and excitement to the Republican platform. In fact, Johnson, who is multiracial (black Canadian father, American Samoan mother), was recently named the 2017 Entertainer of the Year at the 48th annual NAACP Image Awards.
44. Armstrong Williams — Perhaps best known as a political commentator and columnist, Williams appears regularly and widely on TV and radio as a guest and as the host of his own shows. But he may have more influence behind the camera as Williams not only owns a media production company but also owns more television stations than any other minority stakeholder in the U.S. This Newsmax Insider has also been very successful behind the scenes in politics as well: congressional aide, presidential appointee, and campaign adviser to Dr. Ben Carson.
45. Michel Faulkner— A longtime minister and community activist, the retired New York Jets defensive lineman challenged longtime New York Rep. Charles Rangel for his U.S. House of Representatives seat in 2010. Now, Faulkner is running a campaign for the 2017 New York gubernatorial primary; he has advocated respect for law enforcement officers and criticized Mayor Bill de Blasio’s handling of the NYPD.
46. Samuel Newby — Prior to winning a seat on the Jacksonville City Council with less than $10,000 in campaign spending (less than 1 percent of the Democratic candidate’s budget), Newby established a public school academy and has promoted school choice for disadvantaged students. Newby is the former chairman of the Republican Party of Duval County, Florida, and the current chair of the Florida Assembly of Black Republicans.
47. Leah LeVell — As an undergraduate LeVell was a volunteer staffer in the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate; she has since taken on a front-facing role in the RNC’s African American Initiatives and Urban Media team, where she promotes Republican Party values to African-American millennials.
48. Wayne Dupree — An Air Force veteran and talk radio host with a Tea Party vision of less government, lower taxes, and protection of constitutional freedoms, Dupree founded the grassroots online radio network, We Are America Radio, which is bringing newer voices to conservative dialogue.
49. Joseph Phillips — While most known as an actor of stage and screen, Phillips has worn many hats in his career: writer, syndicated columnist, TV and radio commentator, and university fellow who’s written and taught curriculum on the black conservative experience in America.
50. David Wilson — A former Wasilla City Council member who has advocated traditional Republican social values and fiscal responsibility, Wilson was the first African-American from the Matanuska-Susitna Valley in Alaska to be elected to the state Senate, living up to his given name in what was considered an improbable upset of established Republicans.
Frances Rice is a lawyer and retired U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel who was awarded the Legion of Merit. She was designated as one of “America's Top 100 Black Business and Professional Women” by the editorial board of Dollars and Sense magazine. Currently, she is chairman of the National Black Republican Association, as well as a screenwriter and producer of documentaries with Block Starz Music Television LLC, a company she co-founded.