- The Washington Times - Monday, October 23, 2006

Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele, vying to become the sixth black senator in U.S. history, predicted in an interview today that Republicans in Congress are “going to get smacked” in the Nov. 7 general election.

“People are just like, ‘I’m sick of the labels. I’m sick of the partisanship,” said Mr. Steele, during lunch with editors and reporters at the Times. “There is a growing undercurrent — a transition, a transformation, that is occuring in the minds of the electorate, where they are tired … and they’re done.”

“We, unfortunately, the party, is going to get the first wave of it this November — they’re going to get smacked,” said Mr. Steele. “Whether that leads to the loss of the House or the Senate, I don’t know. But I can’t turn a blind eye to the fact that there are some folks who are going to go down in two weeks.”

“And 2008 is going to be very interesting to watch. It’s going to be very interesting to watch how the men and women who want to be president approach the people of this country,” he said.

Mr. Steele, who is trying to defeat his Democratic opponent, Rep. Benjamin L. Cardin, in a state that is registered Democratic by a two-to-one margin. He is attempting to peel off a significant number of black voters, who have historically voted Democratic.

Mr. Steele, who has criticized the Republican Party in campaign commercials, said he would be different than Republicans in Congress, and that voters are responding to his “unconventional” message.

“There is something going on that is not getting tapped, that I’ve tapped into,” Mr. Steele said. “I’m telling them, I get it.”

For more of this exclusive interview, check out tomorrow’s print or online editions of The Washington Times.

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