The GOP’s 2014 strategy: Attract minority votes, reinforce red state strongholds

Katie McHugh | Associate Editor

WASHINGTON — Republicans plan to target Hispanics and other minorities for votes while building stronger state parties to turn swing states red, The Daily Caller has learned.

GOP operatives and political staffers gathered in Washington, D.C. from Monday to Wednesday for the Republican National Committee’s political staff training conference, “The New GOP Model For Campaigns,” to hash out a winning strategy for the upcoming elections. The GOP plans to entrench grassroots organizers in Democratic-leaning communities to cultivate support from blacks and Hispanics, and buttress red state strongholds, which are key to not only maintaining a majority in the House, but retaking the Senate and presidency as well.

RNC Political Director Chris McNulty touted New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s recent re-election victory as a path forward for other Republicans: Christie held onto the governorship in a blue state thanks in part to inclusive campaign messaging, a strong “ground game” and bilingual phone banking.

Future Republican victories hinge on capturing the growing minority vote, McNulty said, according to a Daily Caller source at the conference.

“Minority engagement is the front line in the [fight for the] House of Representatives,” McNulty said. “We will know we’ve made it when we can elect Susana Martinez and a white Anglo guy anywhere.”

“We can have a transformative candidate,” he continued, but Democrats will hold the upper hand if the GOP does not “conduct outreach to minorities.”

McNulty’s predecessor and senior adviser to Christie Mike DuHaime also praised the power of bilingual messaging.

DuHaime said that Republicans “did not appreciate [the] transformational power” of Barack Obama’s presidency — and that Democrats enjoy the advantage of sharing the same ideological sympathies of the the American population at large, along with more successful voter registration efforts.

The GOP must invest in minority communities for long-term electoral success, according to DuHaime, noting that in 1900, Republicans handed out flyers in Chicago, Ill. in over 100 languages to reach out to new immigrants.

“We need to be at the forefront of this again,” he said, encouraging activists to “engage with people we normally wouldn’t think we would associate with” and go where “you’re not comfortable.”

An audience member said that every future GOP campaign should “always have a minority on the ticket,” according to TheDC’s source. DuHaime agreed, later pointing to New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez as an example of a model leader.

RNC Chief of Staff Mike Shields emphasized the need for strong, consistent feedback from GOP field representatives shaping Republican messaging to blacks and Hispanics.

The party, Shields said, “needs to have a realistic outlook on the coming demographic changes” and must learn to “listen” to growing Democratic-leaning constituencies.

Former Speaker of the House and 2012 presidential contender New Gingrich gave a more blunt assessment: The GOP “has no idea what [it’s] doing.”

The GOP is “trying to build a coalition that can be a growing force for a long time” and must learn to “manage diversity,” Gingrich explained.

When reached for comment by TheDC, Gingrich said he was one of many younger Republicans, including Lee Atwater and Trent Lott, who “believed in an integrated America and fought to ensure that the GOP reclaimed its heritage as the party of freedom.”

He also clarified his remarks about Republicans not knowing what they’re doing.

“In terms of reaching young people and minorities the field program is extraordinarily important because Washington Republicans have proven they don’t know how to reach them,” Gingrich told TheDC. “The field team has a vital role to play as pioneers of the future helping their elders learn how to win.”

“The field program is a very daring, courageous effort by Reince Priebus which I strongly support,” he added.

DuHaime did not respond to requests for comment. McNulty and Shields could not be reached for comment.

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