J. Kenneth Blackwell

Former Ohio Secretary of State, Vice Chairman of the Platform Committee of the Republican National Committee (RNC), Senior Fellow for Family Empowerment at the Family Research Council, Board Member of Club for Growth, Board Member of National Taxpayers Union

J. Kenneth Blackwell grew up in Ohio and received a bachelor’s and master’s degree from Xavier University. He first held elected office as a member of Cincinnati’s city council, before being elected as mayor of Cincinnati in 1979. Blackwell worked in the administration of President George H.W. Bush before returning to state politics in Ohio, where he served as State Treasurer and later Secretary of State. After losing to Democrat Ted Strickland in the 2006 Ohio gubernatorial elections, Blackwell ran (unsuccessfully) for Republican National Committee (RNC) chair in 2009. He currently serves as Vice Chairman of RNC’s Platform Committee and as Chair of Citizens for Working America, a Super PAC exclusively focused on electing U.S. Rep. Michelle Bachmann (R-MN) president of the United States.

Controversial Actions and Statements:

In an op-ed for the Patriot Post published on September 15, 2011, Blackwell called Palestine “Terroristan” and challenged science that supports the conclusion that climate change is a man-made phenomenon. Blackwell praised a Danish scientist who found a connection between solar activity and the earth’s temperature, adding, “It's worth noting that the Danes stood up to China on human rights, even when the Communists in Beijing threatened to crush Denmark ‘like a little bird.’ The Danes published those cartoons of you know who [Muhammad] that set off riots throughout the world by followers of the religion of peace.”

In a September 8, 2023 op-ed for the Patriot Post, Blackwell claimed that Congressman John Lewis (D-GA)—who spoke at the 1963 March on Washington where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech—intended to incite violence within the crowd with his original planned speech. In the actual speech Lewis delivered that day, he called for the crowd to nonviolently support the civil rights movement by “march[ing] with the spirit of love and with the spirit of dignity that we have shown here today.” Blackwell’s editorial portrayed a nonviolent, pro-union rally on Labor Day 2011 as “an incitement to riot.”

In a September 1, 2023 op-ed for the Patriot Post, Blackwell commented on Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s reaction to the foreign policy of President Barack Obama by writing, “She had to smile a forced smile and pretend there was nothing amiss. That's not a role that comes naturally to a miss like Hillary. Correction: A Ms.

Blackwell authored an August 19, 2023 op-ed for the Patriot Post, criticizing President Barack Obama’s role in the death of Osama bin Laden. He wrote that what was missing from the raid (ordered by President Obama) was “presidential leadership.” Blackwell further opined that, “The real reason why President Obama has hurriedly put the bin Laden raid behind him is the same reason why George McGovern could not point to his wonderful combat record, or even let others point to it: The Democratic Party houses a large and influential pacifist element.”

Blackwell believes that the United Nations’ Universal Periodic Review process, which produces reports assessing human rights conditions in all member countries, is being used by European countries to diminish United States sovereignty in the Western Hemisphere by imposing human rights conditions on Latin American countries. In an August 6, 20011 op-ed for the Daily Caller, Blackwell said Secretary of State Hillary Clinton “has done nothing to uphold the Monroe Doctrine and nothing to defend our Latin American allies from this new form of European imperialism … Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are on the side of the European imperialists.”

On August 2, 2011, Blackwell commented on the resolution of the debt ceiling crisis, writing, “The only thing being terrorized by tea partiers is the tyranny of the status quo.”

On July 12, 2023 Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted requested $332,000 in taxpayer money to pay for attorney’s fees for plaintiffs who sued then-Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell over his conduct during the 2004 presidential elections. The plaintiffs, who alleged that Blackwell violated the National Voter Registration Act of 1993, settled the lawsuit with the state in 2009.

In a July 1, 2023 op-ed for The Daily Caller entitled, “Blacks Don’t Need Same-Sex Marriage,” Blackwell wrote, “The first same-sex unions anywhere on earth appeared less than a decade ago … The ideal remains. Two parents—one man and one woman—raising their children in a loving and supportive marriage gives children the best chance to become happy and successful.”

In a June 12, 2023 op-ed for the Patriot Post, Blackwell claimed—without any evidence—that “San Francisco gay activists” were behind a local ballot initiative to ban infant circumcision.

In April 2011, Blackwell expressed support for a piece of Ohio legislation that would have banned abortion—for any reason—as early as 18 days after conception. Ohio Right to Life, the state’s leading anti-abortion group, opposed the bill in the face of criticism that the legislation was clearly unconstitutional under Roe v. Wade.

In a March 23, 2023 op-ed for the Patriot Post, Blackwell, upset that a book about the assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan focused too little on Reagan’s policies as president, wrote, “Just imagine if Hinckley had so grievously wounded Jimmy Carter. Can anyone believe that that would have made 18% mortgage rates go away, forget ‘America held hostage’ in Iran, chill out while lining up for gasoline, or learn to enjoy the era of limits and malaise?” The book in question, “Rawhide Down,” was critically acclaimed and well received by reviewers with diverse viewpoints, including Bill O’Reilly and Bob Woodward.

Blackwell tweeted “I am disappointed with ACU's decision to team up with GOProud” and re-tweeted “homosexuality is not conservative” in response to news that the American Conservative Union (ACU) would allow the GOProud organization to participate in the 2011 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC).

In a January 19, 2024 op-ed for the Patriot Post, Blackwell claimed that the U.N. Population Fund “aids and abets China's government as it brutally enforces its one-child policy.” Claims that the Population Fund encourages women to have abortions have been thoroughly debunked.

In a January 11, 2024 op-ed for the Patriot Post entitled “The Constitution Did Not Condone Slavery,” Blackwell claimed, “There was no mention of slavery in the Constitution. The framers were unwilling to admit in the federal charter there could be property in men.” To the contrary, the Constitution contained the three-fifths compromise that counted slaves as three-fifths of a person for representation and tax purposes. Additionally, Article 1, Section 9 and Article 5 allowed the continued importation of slaves and prohibited the Congress from banning slavery until twenty years after ratification of the Constitution. Finally, Article 4, Section 2 prohibited citizens from providing assistance to escaped slaves (before being superseded by the Thirteenth Amendment, which abolished slavery).

After actor Liam Neeson said that the Aslan lion character from the “Chronicles of Narnia” series could serve as an allegory for both Jesus Christ and other religious figures, Blackwell wrote a December 21, 2023 op-ed for the Patriot Post entitled “A Fatwa on Liam Neeson?” In it, he suggested: “Liam Neeson is certainly not stupid. He is, unfortunately, a dhimmicrat. A dhimmicrat is one who uses his social, cultural, or political position to smooth the path of sharia, the law they have in Saudi Arabia … Liam Neeson's fawning attempts may prove dangerous. He did, after all, publicly compare Mohammed to an animal. No matter that it's an allegory. It can still be taken up by Muslim rioters as ‘blasphemy.’

In an op-ed for the Patriot Post entitled “Obama’s Mosque at Ground Zero” published on August 20, 2010, Blackwell wrote, “Only their [Muslim] beliefs are respected by President Obama … To allow a mosque within spitting distance of Ground Zero is to allow a triumphal arch for our jihadist enemies. It will be a recruiting poster for jihadists worldwide…Do we want sharia law here? That’s the law they have in Saudi Arabia. [Community center proponent] Imam Rauf is all out for sharia. If he succeeds in his life quest, Americans will lose every liberty—starting with our religious liberty.” Rauf actually has said the following about the center: “There's going to be a dedicated prayer space for Muslim, which we do need. And we want to have prayer space for Christians and for Jews. As I said, we have to build on our common platform.” Additionally, Rauf indicated the project will disclose all donors and reject any money offered by organizations that advocate violence.

In a July 28, 2023 op-ed for the Patriot Post, Blackwell claimed that the Obama administration promotes abortion in Third
World countries because the administration “wants fewer of them.”

Commenting on his belief that the United States promotes abortion in Kenya in an April 16, 2023 op-ed for the Patriot Post,
Blackwell flirted with “Birther” rhetoric by writing, “The Obama administration doesn't want to raise any questions about why it's pushing for fewer birth certificates in Kenya.”

In a March 24, 2023 op-ed for the Patriot Post, Blackwell called President Barack Obama, “The Abortion President.”

In a March 9, 2023 op-ed for the Patriot Post, Blackwell suggested that remarks by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton could
incite a second Falklands War. Blackwell was incensed that Secretary Clinton referred to the Falkland Islands by their Spanish name. “But
now, we face another possible crisis over the Falklands. And all because of Hillary Clinton’s clumsy attempt at “even-handedness”—which is in fact ham-handedness
,” wrote Blackwell. “Think we’re having trouble with Latin Americans now? Try to imagine U.S. Naval vessels called in at the last minute to block an Argentine invasion of the Falklands.”

In a February 26, 2023 op-ed for the Patriot Post, Blackwell claimed “If it is passed, ObamaCare will greatly increase abortions in this country by making them free.” In reality, in conjunction with the health care reform bill, President Obama issued an Executive Order preserving the restriction on the use of federal government funds to pay for abortions.

In a February 23, 2023 op-ed for the Patriot Post, Blackwell claimed that homosexuals “created” the AIDs epidemic and worried “Do the American people want to bring this health crisis into the ranks of our volunteer military?” Regarding the potential repeal of the military’s “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy, Blackwell wondered, “What would the gay quota be? Would it be the widely discredited 10% figure that gay activists like Obama’s Safe Schools Czar Kevin Jennings always cite? Or would it be the more realistic ‘less than 3% figure?’”

In a January 19, 2024 op-ed for the Patriot Post, Blackwell suggested that TWA Flight 800, which crashed in 1996 killing all 230 persons aboard, was downed by a terrorist attack. A FBI investigation revealed no evidence of terrorist involvement.

In a January 7, 2024 op-ed for the Patriot Post, Blackwell wrote, “In the 1960s, many developing nation’s had nearly wiped out malaria, but it came back after DDT was banned. It did not matter that DDT was harmless to humans—and actually saved lives—the Left attacked it, ultimately causing 50 million preventable deaths.” Medical research has linked human exposure to DDT to diabetes, Parkinson’s disease and reproductive problems, including miscarriages, developmental disabilities, and premature births. DDT is also a “probable human carcinogen,” according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

The Family Research Council (FRC), where Blackwell works as a Senior Fellow, has made a number of controversial statements about homosexuality, leading it to be designated as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC).

Comparing the Department of Justice’s decision to prosecute 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in a civilian court to the role of then-Attorney General Janet Reno during the Waco siege, Blackwell wrote a December 5, 2023 op-ed for the Patriot Post, stating, “Attorney General Janet Reno thought she might have to prove her toughness by transferring dozens of women and children from a Waco cult headquarters to eternity. Really bad idea.” Blackwell also wrote, “Eric Holder’s decision to try the terrorists in Manhattan may not be simply the worst decision of this administration, it bids fair to stand with Dred Scott and Roe v. Wade as being among the three worst decisions in American history.”

Blackwell compared the presidency of Jimmy Carter to the slave trade in a November 25, 2023 op-ed for the Patriot Post, writing, “More Africans lost their freedom during Jimmy Carter’s four years than at any other time in history.”

In a November 20, 2023 op-ed for the Patriot Post, Blackwell claimed “more than 90 percent” of Democrats “never go to church.”

Blackwell called President Barack Obama “the world’s Number One enabler of China’s forced abortion policy” in a November 14, 2023 op-ed for the Patriot Post.

In a October 30, 2023 opinion piece, Blackwell attacked the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex and national origin, by writing, “Would you rather not have a receptionist or customer service representative of your company who has tattooed his or her face with fierce Maori markings? You could be forced by the EEOC [Equal Employment Opportunity Commission] to make that hire.” Blackwell also worried about the EEOC’s effect on “employers who would prefer not to hire or promote employees who dress as members of the opposite sex.

Expressing his belief that homosexuality is a choice at the 2009 Republican National Convention, Blackwell said, “I've never had to make the choice because I've never had the urge to be other than a heterosexual, but if in fact I had the urge to be something else, I could have in fact suppressed that urge.” Blackwell further stated that the only two sexual orientations are “male” and “female.”

While serving as Ohio Secretary of State, a state audit revealed that Blackwell illegally paid out over $80,000 in bonuses to staff in December 2006 just before the switch from a Republican to a Democratic administration.

During the 2006 Ohio gubernatorial election, Blackwell was accused by his Democratic opponent, Ted Strickland, of using innuendo to imply that Strickland had a homosexual relationship with a former aide. During a debate, Blackwell also made the shocking accusation that Strickland was associated with the pro-pedophile North American Man Boy Love Association (NAMBLA). Strickland defeated Blackwell by a large margin.

Blackwell compared homosexuality to arson and kleptomania in 2006, describing homosexuality as “a transgression against God’s law.”

In 2006, Blackwell said that he favors legislation that would outlaw abortion in the case of rape, incest, and even to save the life of the mother.

On two separate occasions, Blackwell was blamed for the release of the social security numbers of millions of Ohio residents. In 2006, while serving as Ohio’s Secretary of State, Blackwell’s office sent CDs to 20 political parties that contained records of 7.7 million registered voters in Ohio. This followed an earlier incident in which a lawsuit was filed against Blackwell for publishing the social security numbers of thousands of Ohio residents on state websites.

In 2006, Blackwell co-wrote a book with Jerome Corsi, who is well known for his role in the “Swift Boat” campaign against Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry and the “Birther” accusations against President Barack Obama. Blackwell and Corsi’s book called for eliminating all federal welfare benefits.

While overseeing the 2004 presidential election in Ohio, Blackwell was accused by the Democratic Party and others of implementing policies that disenfranchised minority and young voters. Numerous lawsuits were filed against Blackwell, who was at the time an Honorary Co-Chair of President George W. Bush’s Ohio campaign. One lawsuit filed by the Ohio Democratic Party alleged that Blackwell’s policies violated the Help America Vote Act, passed in the wake of the 2000 presidential election fiasco.

In October 2004, prior to the presidential elections, Ohio Secretary of State Blackwell sent a letter to conservatives to encourage them to vote on a gay marriage ballot issue. Democrats contended that it was inappropriate for the person in charge of overseeing the election to rally voters to vote a specific cause. Marion County Prosecuting Attorney Jim Slagle compared Blackwell’s conduct to “allowing the manager of the New York Yankees to also serve as the chief umpire in the World Series.”

Blackwell owned shares of Diebold, a voting machine manufacturer, while he was responsible for overseeing the 2004 presidential election in Ohio as Secretary of State. While Secretary of State, Blackwell also directed Ohio to purchase Diebold voting machines. Walden O’Dell, chief executive of Diebold and a fundraiser for George W. Bush, famously sent a letter to Ohio Republicans stating that he was “committed to helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes to the president [George W. Bush in 2004].”

Blackwell received the John M. Ashbrook Award at the CPAC convention in 2004. The award is named after one of the founders of the ACU who served in the U.S. House of Representatives for 21 years as a Republican from Ohio.

Blackwell called himself “the lead spokesman” for a 2004 ballot measure that sought to ban gay marriage in Ohio.

In 1980, Blackwell wrestled a soda-drinking bear named Victor as part of a charity event during his tenure as mayor of Cincinnati, Ohio. The bear broke Blackwell’s finger. By 2006, Bear wrestling had been banned in 20 states. The practice is accused of being cruel because of the harsh physical and psychological training the bear receives.

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