Alan L. Keyes, a passionately partisan black conservative who held several State Department posts in the Reagan administration, jumped into the 1996 presidential contest Sunday, the first of his race to seek the Republican nomination in modern political times.
He vowed to turn the contest into a wide-open debate advocating family values and opposing abortion, an issue many other Republicans just as soon would leave on the back burner.
Because of Keyes’ relative political obscurity, few political experts expect much from his candidacy, even if it is based primarily on the incendiary abortion issue.
But Keyes, 44, who now earns a living as a Baltimore talk-show host, writer and lecturer, nevertheless plunged in with outspoken vigor Sunday morning.
“Somebody has got to stand up and raise the banner,” he said in announcing his candidacy during a meeting of the California Republican Assembly, the conservative wing of the state party.