Low Blow: Chris Matthews Uses GOP Primary Runoff to Imply Party's Racist History

Tuesday, May 20 was primary day in six states across the county and MSNBC’s Chris Matthews was dubbed the point man for the network’s election night coverage. Unfortunately, the Hardball host couldn’t resist taking an inappropriate swipe at the five Republicans seeking the nomination for Senate in Georgia. 

At the very end of a segment that aired at 7:27 p.m. Eastern, Matthews commented that the GOP primary will likely head to a runoff and “the reason they have these runoffs is to make sure no black guy ever won a nomination down there.” [See video below.] 

The Hardball host observed: 

And in Georgia, five Republicans are battling for the Senate nomination. If no one gets over 50 percent, which they wont, the top two vote-getters will head on to July to a runoff for the right to take on Democrat Michelle Nunn. By the way, the reason they have these runoffs is to make sure no black guy ever won a nomination down there.

Matthews’ disgusting comments came during a discussion with Michael Steele, former chairman of the Republican National Committee and Stephanie Schriock, president of the pro-choice Emily’s List. The conversation on the Georgia primary centered almost entirely on the Republican Party including a discussion about whether or not the Republican candidates including Congressman Jack Kingston (R-GA) were “crazy.” 

Not only were Matthews’ comments highly offensive, they were historically inaccurate as well. The Republican Party in Georgia did not control the Georgia General Assembly until 2004, with the Democratic Party having complete control of both the State House and State Senate for over 110 years.

If, as Matthews implied, Georgia runoffs were established to stop African American candidates from winning the nomination, it would have been Georgia Democrats, not Republicans, who instituted such a racist policy. Instead, Matthews disgustingly implied that runoff to determine the GOP candidate for Senate was born out of the party's racist motives to stop minorities from reaching elected office.

Jeffrey Meyer
Jeffrey Meyer
Jeffrey Meyer is a News Analyst at the Media Research Center.