On a Wednesday evening after classes in College Park, Md., a group of about 20 college Republicans mill about in the Thurgood Marshall Room of the student union, waiting for congressional hopeful Charles Lollar to make an appearance.
“It’s more of a support group than a club,” a senior majoring in government says, describing the University of Maryland’s conservative scene.
Lollar, a Marine Corps Reserve major running in the 5th District’s Republican primary, is a mix of conservative candidate (“Everybody can’t go to college. If all of us go to college, who is paying the tuition? If all of us work for government, who is paying the paychecks?”) and motivational speaker (“The only difference between someone very successful and someone not successful is that that person who is successful got up one more time.”).
But Lollar has one more unique attribute: He’s an African-American tea partier.
“Charles Lollar could be the Maryland miracle like Scott Brown was the Massachusetts miracle. That’s a possibility, and it’s very exciting,” said Audrey Scott, chairwoman of the Maryland GOP and the Republican candidate who faced Hoyer when he was first elected in 1981.
…Raised in a small town in Washington state, Lollar credits his parents for instilling in him conservative values. As a student, Lollarwanted to study cardiology but was drawn to the Marine Corps in his mid-20s after his wife became pregnant with their fourth child. After Sept. 11, 2001, Lollar felt drawn to politics.
Lollar, a general manager at Cintas, is unabashed when it comes to addressing accusations of racism by the tea party movement’s opponents. “Can you believe that I have been accused of being a racist?” he asked the college Republicans. “Somebody once called me a racist. I looked at them and said, ‘My wife’s black — I can’t be!’” he joked to the crowd at a tea party rally in March.
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