When Lenny McAllister was asked to speak at the Republican National Convention in July, it seemed like a golden opportunity to further his credentials as the kind of young, moderate, and capable spokesman the party needs to attract younger and more diverse voters.
And it might have been—he had a prime time slot, it was only a short drive to Cleveland. But just before he left he was informed by the Trump campaign that as part of his remarks, he would have to issue a “full throated endorsement” of the nominee.
“Did you see me on television? No,” he said. “I have never been a supporter of Donald Trump, ever.”
McAllister, 44, is known primarily as a conservative talk show host on both television and radio. He went to Catholic Schools in Pittsburgh and Penn Hills. He ran for office twice in North Carolina, losing both times, but his runs garnered the attention of FOX News who made him a contributor to their 2008 presidential election coverage. He also worked in radio in Chicago before returning home three years ago.
He sees himself as fitting the mold of Republicans like John Heinz, Elsie Hillman and Jackie Robinson. He stresses being true to himself—not the party line.
McAllister is now seeking to unseat 10-term Democratic incumbent U.S. Rep. Mike Doyle for the 14th congressional district seat, suggests—were the shoe on the other foot—that his opponent would not make a similarly principled stance.