The Republican National Committee is forming an advisory council to build on its momentum with voters of color while examining how the party can win over suburban women, young people and other voters after a midterm cycle that failed to produce the expected “red wave.”
The council will include former Trump White House adviser Kellyanne Conway and successful GOP candidates such as Sen.-elect Katie Britt of Alabama, Rep.-elect Monica De La Cruz of Texas and Rep.-elect John James of Michigan. It will also include Blake Masters, who lost to Arizona Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly, and Madison Mari Gesiotto Gilbert, who lost an Ohio House race.
While hailing its success in “growing the party” through Hispanic, Asian and Black voters, the RNC also outlined a to-do list that included suburban and youth outreach and “holding Big Tech accountable, supporting law enforcement, and delivering for Americans of faith.”
“As we assess the midterms and plan for 2024, we are gathering a diverse range of respected leaders in our movement to join together and help chart a winning course in the years to come,” said RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel. “I am thrilled that this talented group of Republicans will be shoulder to shoulder with us as we work to grow our party, hold Democrats accountable, and elect Republicans.”
The project is drawing obvious comparisons to The Growth & Opportunity Project, or “RNC autopsy,” which was commissioned after Mitt Romney’s loss to President Barack Obama in 2012.
It was met with enthusiasm by some within the party, and the GOP adopted some recommendations, such as holding the party convention earlier in the summer. But core provisions — notably its more open approach to immigration and inclusion — seemed to be abandoned with the rise of President Trump and his 2016 victory.
The GOP won control of the House this cycle but with a far narrower majority than expected, leaving little wiggle room for caucus leaders. The party also failed to flip the Senate and could see the Democrats’ majority grow from 50 seats — with a vice presidential tie-breaker — to 51 seats if Sen. Raphael Warnock wins a runoff in Georgia.
The results were far below the historical norm for the party not occupying the White House, especially given President Biden’s weak approval ratings and soaring inflation numbers.
Some in the GOP are pointing fingers at Mr. Trump, who endorsed a series of big-ticket contenders like Mehmet Oz in the Pennsylvania Senate race only for them to fall short on Election Day.
Pundits say Mr. Trump’s attacks on the electoral process, coupled with the Supreme Court decision this summer to overturn Roe v. Wade and the nationwide right to abortion, were a drag on the party, particularly with women and young people, despite the economic headwinds against President Biden and Democrats.
The RNC announcement suggested the party would fine-tune its message instead of abandoning positions on abortion or other matters, in a nod to the power of social conservatives in the party.
“Americans of faith are the heartbeat of the Republican vote. This midterm cycle showed us that Republicans who committed to protecting the unborn, defending religious freedom, and standing for parental rights did extremely well up and down the ballot and across the country,” said Tony Perkins, the president of the Family Research Council and a member of the new RNC council.
Others will advise the RNC on how to boost the party’s growing share of voters of color.
“Democrats take the Black vote for granted and, in the past, the Republican Party hadn’t even tried. My fellow Michigander, Chairwoman McDaniel, has done an incredible job leading the RNC‘s outreach to minority voters, including opening 38 brick-and-mortar community centers during the midterm cycle,” said Mr. James, who is Black.
Rep. Michelle Steel, California Republican and a Korean American, and Rep. Carlos Gimenez, Florida Republican and a Cuban American, will also work on minority outreach.
Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares said he will highlight GOP support for law enforcement.
Mr. Masters, a venture capitalist making his first foray into politics, lost a key race in Arizona to Mr. Kelly but said he will advise the party on how to “modernize.”
“We’re fighting against Big Tech, the media, and now, the Democrats’ [get-out-the-vote] early-voting machine,” he said.
Amanda Carpenter, a former aide to Republican Sen. Ted Cruz and a CNN contributor, questioned whether Mr. Masters’ inclusion made sense.
“The fact that Blake Masters is a part of the panel running this autopsy and not a subject of it seems highly problematic,” she tweeted.