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RNC Looks to Refurbish Ailing State Parties, Build Infrastructure

Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo
Priebus is expected to discuss the GOP’s organizational plan Friday during his speech at the Republican National Committee’s winter meeting.

The Republican National Committee is assembled in Charlotte this week in the midst of an ongoing post-election review that will help guide its strategy for strengthening the party’s campaign infrastructure and broadening its appeal.

Along with a renewed focus on attracting minorities, another priority likely to emerge from the review is a reinvestment in some of the party’s downtrodden state affiliations that exhibited their deficiencies in the glaring lights of the 2012 election cycle. Without the benefit of the well-funded political operation of a sitting president, some state Republican parties struggled to supply the vital infrastructure and leadership that candidates at all levels rely on.

“We are in the process of developing training programs and outreach efforts to help support efforts in states through webinars, in person training, data and fundraising assistance,” RNC Press Secretary Kirsten Kukowski said. “This will be a major focus for the RNC as we complete the review and learn from what went wrong and what went right the past cycle.”

Just in the West alone, Republicans struggled at the congressional and presidential level in a handful of states the party once expected to compete in. The reasons varied from state to state but included both organizational issues and the party’s toxic brand among Hispanic voters.

RNC Chairman Reince Priebus is expected to touch on both topics Friday in his speech at the RNC winter meeting, according to excerpts of his remarks obtained by CQ Roll Call. The organizational plan includes refurbishing the GOP into a modern party with trained operatives and activists in communities across the country — one that can compete with Democrats.

“As a party, we must recognize that we live in an era of permanent politics. We must stop living nominee-to-nominee, campaign to campaign,” Priebus is expected to say. “As we saw this election, our opponent benefited from a multi-year head-start. Now is the time to begin to develop a permanent, national field infrastructure. This is the opportunity to get a head-start of our own.”

That national plan will rely in part on the strength of the state parties. At this juncture in the RNC review, it remains unclear which ones will receive the abundance of the committee’s focus.

In an interview with CQ Roll Call last month, Priebus, who is expected to be re-elected to a second two-year term on Friday, identified just one of the state parties high on his assistance target list: Nevada.

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