It’s no secret that the floor at the Republican nominating convention is a sea of white faces.
So Corey Brinson, a black lawyer from Bloomfield, stands out.
Brinson today was vying for the GOP nomination for Secretary of the State.
Prior to the vote – which he ultimately lost to state Consumer Protection Commissioner Jerry Farrell - Brinson told me the lack of diversity is a problem within the party. But it’s not just a lack of minorities, Brinson said. The GOP needs more women and also more young people.
“My candidacy is a referendum on whether the party wants to embrace its past or future,” Brinson told me.
Brinson went into the convention feeling pretty good about his chances. And, while Farrell, who is white, beat him by 787 to 500 delegate votes, Brinson earned more than enough support to mount a primary if he so chooses.
“Forty percent (of delegate votes) first time out is very good,” Brinson said afterward as supporters encouraged him to primary Farrell. He said he will announce his decision Monday.
Just before the tally was announced, I broached Brinson’s earlier comments about his candidacy being a referendum with Farrell, a nice guy who clearly is passionate about being the next Secretary of the State. I kind of felt bad raining on his parade, but figured he deserved a chance to respond.
“I don’t think any of us are minorities. We’re all Americans. We all have something to offer,” Farrell said. “I put myself forward. I am who I am. I can’t be something else.”
George Gallo, a former state GOP Chairman and current Chief-of-Staff for the state House Republicans, said his party has always been open and accessible to all candidates.
“Oftentimes from a party standpoint it’s our preference to have minority candidates because it helps us grow the party,” Gallo said, adding: “If no one’s responding to the invitations, maybe our party needs to send out more invitations.”
But he said Brinson’s garnering 500 delegate votes is a positive step and hoped it would encourage other minorities to consider the GOP.
“That sends a significant message, I believe, to people in the minority community,” Gallo said.