- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 17, 2013

The Republican National Committee will launch a $10 million minority engagement initiative this year that will send hundreds of party workers into Asian, Hispanic and black communities, coast to coast, to talk about what Republicans believe in.

The outreach is part of the party’s plan to compete in all 50 states in the 2016 presidential contest instead of just the nine battleground states that Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan targeted last year, RNC Chairman Reince Priebus said.

The GOP presidential ticket won only one of those states — North Carolina — losing Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia and Wisconsin.

To reverse that trend, Republicans must spend “considerable time” learning firsthand of the challenges Americans in Asian, Hispanic and black neighborhoods face, “to show those voters how conservative philosophy can improve their lives,” said Oregon RNC member Solomon Yue, who was born in China and lived under communism for 20 years before escaping to the United States.

To build long-term personal relationships, the RNC plans to dispatch Asian, Hispanic and black Republicans, as the chairman’s personal envoys, to community events and citizen swearing-in ceremonies.

“This is an empowerment approach to engage the minority communities long term, not just for the next election,” Mr. Yue said.

Mr. Priebus said he will roll out other “innovative” recommendations at a news conference at the National Press Club on Monday. But he emphasized that before implementation can begin, some of these recommendations will have to be approved by three-fourths of the RNC’s 168 members sometime this year.

One expected recommendation will be to develop data-sharing software for voter registration and better GOTV — “get out the vote” — programs to facilitate the new 50-state strategy. This would allow all 50 state Republican parties to share precinct-by-precinct information about the specific interests of potential voters.

Republicans have acknowledged President Obama used superior GOTV software in his 2012 campaign.

Mr. Priebus has also said he wants to have the RNC, with members’ approval, take control of the 2016 presidential primary debates.

“No longer will liberal moderators maneuver our candidates into fighting each other instead of presenting new ideas that address GOP primary voters’ concerns,” Mr. Priebus said.

The recommendations grew out of the RNC’s search for the views of more than 51,000 party activists around the country as part of its “Growth and Opportunities Project.”

• Ralph Z. Hallow can be reached at rhallow@gmail.com.

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