"Barack the Magic Negro" candidate out of RNC race

Chip Saltsman, notorious for his distribution of a CD containing racially charged songs, couldn't muster the support needed to stay in the running to be RNC chair.

Published January 30, 2009 2:45PM (EST)

Chip Saltsman, the former chair of the Tennessee GOP and the man who engineered Mike Huckabee's surprising presidential campaign, will not be the next chair of the Republican National Committee. He announced his decision in a letter to the voting membership of the RNC Thursday afternoon, after it became clear he wouldn't have the minimum amount of support necessary to qualify for the official vote held today.

Saltsman was a dark horse from the beginning. But his candidacy had been in serious trouble since late last year, when, for Christmas, he sent associates a CD that contained the songs "Barack the Magic Negro" and "Star Spanglish Banner."

With Saltsman out, the field is down to five contenders. As I wrote in one post earlier this month, none of the remaining candidates have an especially impressive resume. In fact, Saltsman was arguably the most interesting possibility, someone who'd had real success and had the potential to be a Howard Dean figure for the RNC -- that is, if he could avoid embarrassments like the CD. The rest of the field, at least right now, doesn't seem to have the kind of upside Saltsman did.

By Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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