RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – He is the Republican nominee facing an uphill fight against long time incumbent Bobby Scott in Virginia's third congressional district. Chuck Smith is an attorney and former marine. He also received the endorsement of the Richmond Times-Dispatch this weekend.
Ryan Nobles: Welcome to First at 4:00.
Chuck Smith: Thank you, Ryan.
Ryan Nobles: I first want to address the issue of your residency. You starred on hoping to be the nominee in the 2nd congressional district but gave way to the current nominee and are now running in the 3rd district. Why should voters make you their first choice if this particular seat was not your first choice?
Chuck Smith: I'm the choice for the voters because the 3rd district is in a horrible status regarding jobs. The 3rd district is in a horrible status regarding poverty and the 3rd district is in a horrible status regarding unemployment. We have some of the highest in the state and in some areas unemployment is the highest in the nation. And I believe that I have a package we put together, a plan, an ideal package which I think will work. That's why I believe the citizens of the 3rd district will choose me and quite frankly, I think that's why they're looking at me to be their next congressman.
Ryan Nobles: Do you think it matters that you first flirted with the idea of running in the 2nd district before deciding to run in the 3rd?
Chuck Smith: I think about now, Americans and certainly citizens of the 3rd district could care less about flirting and there are more concerned about jobs, paying the bills, getting mortgages paid, and they're concerned about eating. You know, if someone can bring those things to the table for them, I think that would be more than where their candidate is coming from. If the constitution and the laws allow someone to run from wherever they live in the state, if the constitution allows that, I think Americans are looking for that person to put food on the table.
Ryan Nobles: Let's talk about the 3rd district. It was drawn by the Supreme Court to specifically give minorities a voice in Washington. Republicans have not traditionally been considered the party for African Americans and other minorities. Do your values match up with the values of the people that live in the 3rd district?
Chuck Smith: Oh, absolutely, and I'll tell you up front. I am not a Republican because I follow the mantra of what other people are doing. I'm a Republican because I made a conscious decision early on in my life that I believe in lower taxes and smaller government. I do not believe the design of this nation, certainly a constitution allows for government to grow beyond leaps and bounds while Americans are suffering. The state and people, the power not given to the federal government belongs to the states and the people and that's where I come from and yes, I believe my values align with those in the third district. I'll go a step further and say my family values, my Christian values, my political values and my service to this country align with just about any place in America.
Ryan Nobles: Do you think Republicans need to do more to reach out to African Americans? You are in the minority being a Republican black candidate.
Chuck Smith: At the end of the day, yes, I think we all as Americans need to reach out no, matter who we are and no matter where her. We're under nation under god, not a divided separate class of people. I think the notion that every conversation needs to begin with race is a false concept. We need to get the message across that African Americans are welcome in the Republican Party, that whites are welcome in the Republican Party, that every race is welcome in the Republican Party and any other party. I don't think there is a concept by which one race of people belongs to a certain party.
Ryan Nobles: Very good. Mr. Smith, thank you so much for being here and good luck on Election Day.
Chuck Smith: Thank you, Ryan, I appreciate it.
See the video at right for the full interview.