Priebus: Jolly Election Spotlights Republicans' 'Positive Vision'

Sunday, 16 Mar 2014 01:57 PM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

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Obamacare is "complete poison," but Florida's David Jolly didn't win his state's special election by focusing only on that, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus maintains.

Instead, Jolly, who defeated Democratic challenger Alex Sink on March 11 to replace late GOP Rep. Bill Young, also gave a positive vision, Priebus said Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union."

That's something the party will need to remember looking forward to this year's midterm elections.

"Obamacare is complete poison out there in the field," Priebus said, "and so the lesson is going to be number one, you have to hit your main target which is Obamacare. But secondly, David Jolly gave a positive vision. He had a position on Obamacare which was positive for him, a positive message besides Obamacare."

Priebus said that Jolly's campaign also worked closely with the RNC and the Florida Republican party, which also helped with the win.

"We were taking digital advances we had made, walking applications we put in the field and our data was talking to our political field operation on a historical way for our party, and it worked," Priebus said. "We’re going to have a good year this year and I think we’re going to win the U.S. Senate and I think that bodes well for the future."

But even with the optimism surrounding Jolly's win, the Republican Party is working hard to change the "very nature of how we do business."

Part of the effort is a massive, 14-state ad campaign being undertaken to display the party in a new light to people who may not have considered voting Republican in hopes of attracting more minority and female voters to the cause.

Last year, the RNC released its "Growth and Opportunity Project" report that noted that unless Republicans are serious about addressing the party's problem with attracting minority votes, the party will lose further elections.

"The minority groups that President Obama carried with 80 percent of the vote in 2012 are on track to become a majority of the nation’s population by 2050 . . . The Republican Party must compete on every playing field," that report said.

Priebus said Sunday that Republicans are "talking about issues that affect everyone...whatever race, whatever gender."

And he believes Republicans are leading the way on talking about those issues, and "doing things like this 14-state ad campaign, talking to everyone in every state talking about what brings everyone in this country together around the Republican Party, about creating your own American dream."

Priebus calls the efforts a "historic engagement," as Republicans are heading out to Hispanic, Asian, and African-American communities "not just five months before an election but for four years."

It's a radical change from the past, he said.

"This is what we do," said Priebus. "We are a campaign committee; one of the things we didn’t do well in the past is communicate on a long-term basis in diverse communities across America. What we’re changing is that every day and every week, we’re in these communities talking about the Republican Party. That’s how you change things."




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