Election 2000: The Venom of Race
by Kevin Nguyen
December 2000/January 2001
Mirroring the corrupting influence of “race” on society at large, the Fourth Congressional District race in Maryland presents a stark picture of how much it has poisoned our political process.
Standing in the way of incumbent Democrat Albert R. Wynn’s re-election to the House of Representatives is his only opponent on the November ballot, Republican John Kimble. And while she is not on the ballot, he has to contend also with his wife Jessie, who is currently embroiled in a contentious two-year divorce and child custody battle. Dealing the race card from the bottom of the deck, she taped the following message for the Kimble campaign that was transmitted to thousands of homes in the congressional district:
- “Hi, this is Jessie Wynn, wife of Congressman Albert Wynn. Albert Wynn does not respect black women. He left me for a white woman. Please send your donations to Kimble for Congress [mailing address provided]. Please help us defeat Albert Wynn. Thank you and God bles you.”
Mrs. Wynn’s attack is remarkable – and not just for her sardonic choice of background music during the recording: the pop smash hit by Celine Dion, “Because You Loved Me,” from the movie “Up Close and Personal.” She has used the issue of race to bludgeon her husband of six years during the middle of an election with the encouragement and complicity of his political opponent. (Mr. Kimble also placed the recording on his campaign website, and the Washington Post reported that the site also contains photos of Mr. Kimble and Mrs. Wynn shaking hands and standing in front of a banner that reads, “Al Wynn left his black wife and child for a white woman!”) She also does not see the irony in chairing the campaign of her husband’s white challenger while preaching racial solidarity.
“Hell hath no fury,” Mr. Wynn said in response to a recent Post inquirty. “It’s a pretty sad situation that has evolved out of a bitter divorce. I have nothing negative to say about my soon-to-be ex-wife, and I’m going to try to protect my daughter from any ugliness. I’m going to campaign on the issues, and I believe the Kimble campaign speaks for itself.” (It should be noted that Mr. Wynn has played the race card before, in addition to supporting preferences and generally perpetuating the corrupt system of racial classifications.)
“I’m not motivated by any kind of spite, ” insisted Mrs. Wynn.
Mr. Kimble, whom Mrs. Wynn hails as “the best person to represent us in the 4th District” submitted nude photos of himself to Playgirl in 1996 in order to garner attention in that race. Playgirl declined to publish them. Calling himself an “animal behaviorist” and writer, he is ironically running on a platform of “building a cohesive and friendly society.” He has been vanquished soundly by Mr. Wynn in the past two elections in the overwhelmingly Democratic and black district.
“You can’t win in this district unless you’re ready to roll in the mud with him,” Kimble justified. “I’m playing the race card to beat him.”
A harvest of bitter fruit has been mixed with racism to produce one of the ugliest campaigns in memory.
Kevin Nguyen is Director of Federal and State Affairs for the American Civil Rights Institute.
Editor’s Note: This commentary was originally published in the October 2000 issue of The Egalitarian. On election day, Mr. Kimble was defeated by Representative Albert Wynn, who received 88% of the vote.
Copyright © 2000 ACRI. All rights reserved.