NO SCARLET LETTER IN OHIO. Floyd Flake, the minister and former Democratic congressman from New York who launched a burgeoning career as a closet Republican back in 1998 with a speech to the Republican National Committee, recently became the co-chair of Ken Blackwell�s gubernatorial campaign. Blackwell, who trails rival Ted Strickland by 20 points in a Columbus Dispatch mail-in poll earlier this week, bounced back with a Zogby poll showing only a 4.6 percent deficit against Strickland, with a 3.2 percent margin of error.

Blackwell, who is a leading light of the GOP effort to cultivate more black candidates (ones who won�t make ill-advised and politically suicidal comments to reporters, that is) surely thought he was burnishing his credentials with black voters by bringing Flake on board. Although he spent ten years in Congress as a Democrat, he turned to the free-market ideology that is the bedrock of Blackwell�s campaign, when he�s not pandering to the theocratic right. But will black voters be swayed by Blackwell�s recent crass attempt to make inroads in a Democratic stronghold, where many felt he disenfranchised them in 2004?

--Sarah Posner

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