Niger Innis, spokesman for the 72-year-old Congress on Racial Equality (CORE), is seeking the Republican nomination for Congress in Nevada's 4th District.
Innis, the son of civil rights legend Roy Innis, held a press conference on Wednesday afternoon at Leticia's Mexican Cocina, a Latino-owned small business in Las Vegas, to make his candidacy official.
The 45-year-old Innis, well-known nationally for his spirited appearances on cable TV outlets, plans to campaign as a no-holds-barred conservative and to take those values to the Hispanic and black population that make up a substantial portion of the 4th District.
Conservative values "will guide me in finding solutions to the challenges that face all of us, everyday: a good education for our children, reliable healthcare for our families, putting food on our kitchen tables, financial stability for our retirement years. These are the issues we all share," Innis said in a statement announcing his bid.
In an exclusive interview with Newsmax on the evening before his announcement, Innis recalled how he had come from New York to Nevada in 2007 for CORE-related projects.
"I was spending more time out west than in New York. When I realized that a kid from Harlem was starting to recognize downtown Salt Lake City, I knew it was time to set up a full-time operation here," Innis said.
Among the projects launched by Innis is Join America, a program tailored for the "comprehensive assimilation" of people desiring U.S. citizenship.
"Join America taught English, an understanding of the U.S. Constitution, that the Bill of Rights is the ultimate insurance policy for a citizen, and that being a citizen is not an entitlement," Innis said. "And we also taught a bit of capitalism."
Innis said that following the 2010 Census, redistricting created Nevada's new 4th Congressional District, which he called "a creation" of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid intended for then-Democratic state legislator Steven Horsford, who won the seat in the district's inaugural election in 2012.
"But the makeup of the 4th District explains how it can be won by a Republican like me," Innis said.
With about 85 percent of its voting population in North Las Vegas and other parts of Clark County and 15 percent in surrounding counties, Innis said, "its composition is roughly 27 percent Hispanic-American, 16 percent African-American, and 9 percent Asian-American. So right here in the 4th District, we're talking about the future of America — the people for whom I want to bring the message of conservatism and what it can do to promote opportunity."
Innis will face a primary against rancher and state Assemblyman Cresent Hardy. But the CORE spokesman believes that a combination of fellow conservatives in the district who have seen him "do public battle with the left on the airwaves," his fervent support among national conservatives, and his substantial support among local grass-roots conservatives in Nevada will carry him to the nomination.
In taking conservatism to minority groups, Niger Innis continues a family tradition.
When his father Roy Innis took over CORE in 1968, he stunned fellow civil rights leaders by campaigning for and working with Republicans of all stripes. Innis was a close ally of New York's liberal Republican Gov. Nelson Rockefeller, Presidents Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan, and state Sen. John Marchi, the Republican nominee for mayor of New York in 1969.
John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax.
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