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Former GOP vice presidential candidate Jack Kemp tossed his support Monday to Dylan Glenn's candidacy for Georgia's 8th Congressional District.
"He knows Washington, D.C.," Kemp, a former quarterback, New York congressman and U.S. housing secretary, said about Glenn. "He knows the 8th District. He was born in Georgia, in Columbus. This will give him an ability to represent the district immediately."
But runoff opponent Lynn Westmoreland, a leading state House member from Coweta County, said the endorsement is more proof that Glenn's support is coming from "Washington insiders." "The real endorsement is going to come next Tuesday," said Westmoreland, referring to the runoff. "We're tickled to have the endorsement of Saxby Chambliss, a U.S. senator from Georgia, not someone from Washington or New York."
Kemp came to Glenn's defense in a conference call with reporters. The two men got to know each other when Glenn served as Kemp's traveling press secretary during the 1996 presidential campaign.
Kemp, who has spoken frequently about the Republican Party's difficulty courting black voters, suggested that Glenn, who is African-American, could help if elected to Congress. "I think Dylan Glenn would be what Barack [Obama] is to the Democratic Party," said Kemp, referring to the African-American U.S. Senate candidate from Illinois who has impressed many with his broad-based message.
Glenn has been endorsed by former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and J.C. Watts, the black Republican who served four terms in Congress from Oklahoma. Clark Atlanta University political scientist William Boone said, "I think what Dylan is attempting to do is show they're there to support a qualified black candidate."