Party Chairman Begins Fight to Expand GOP

Barrington M. Salmon | 3/18/2013, 8:18 a.m.

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus has in his possession, a report that he believes will change the fluctuating fortunes of the GOP.

On Monday, March 18, he will share some of the findings of a months-long study called The Growth and Opportunity Project which he said will be the blueprint that will make the Grand Old Party [GOP] a much more attractive place for people of color.

In an exclusive interview with The Washington Informer, he said the release of the 60-page report during a press conference at the Capitol Hill Press Club in Southeast, will signal an all-out push by the GOP to extend its grassroots reach among minorities while building an infrastructure to beat the Democrats at their own game.

The project reflects Priebus' concerns about the state of the GOP and a desire to bring increasing numbers of blacks, Latinos, Asians, young people and women under the party's umbrella. The report is said to contain about 100 recommendations covering a range of issues, including demographic participation and related concerns and developing a friendlier debate calendar.

"We're in a world of permanent politics and we have a lot of work to build relations in the African- American community," said Priebus during a March 17 interview. "For generations, it was the Republican Party that was the home for the majority of African Americans," he said. "Our party's leaders - from Lincoln to Eisenhower - have been the true champions of civil rights. We must earn back that place. I think we have to earn their trust."

"This is the party that should be the natural home for African Americans," he asserted. "It won't happen overnight, but hopefully our actions will match our resolve. We have to grow our party and welcome them in a way that we haven't before. We can go to people who are moderates or those to the right of us."

Priebus, 40, said the Republican National Committee [RNC] will immediately begin hiring hundreds of new outreach employees, including political directors, communications experts and strategists, and community and state leaders who'll be responsible for reaching out to the voting blocs the GOP seeks to attract and retain: Hispanics, Asians and African Americans.

"I'm not interested in hiring two people down the hall. I want to hire hundreds and hundreds and have them out in the community," he said.

In addition, the chairman said, the effort will update its marketing and communications model, while stepping up marketing campaigns on college campuses, including historically black colleges and universities.

Of equal concern to Priebus was the poor showing of his party in 2012. The report offers reasons why Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney was trounced by President Barack Obama and it offers a prescription to make the GOP a formidable foe on the national stage.

Key parts of the report are recommendations that center on ways to match the sophisticated ground game the Obama campaign used to overwhelm Romney and to counter the dominance displayed by the Obama administration during the last two presidential elections.