The chairman of the Republican National Committee will convene a special task force of African American community leaders Thursday in Atlanta to identify political strategies and opportunities to cultivate the party’s appeal among minority voters.
RNC Chairman Reince Priebus, who was reelected late last month to lead the national GOP committee for another two years, has spent the period following the party’s November defeat to President Barack Obama on a national listening tour to address donor gripes with campaign mechanics.
But whereas sessions elsewhere have probed the party’s technology deficit or the handicaps borne of frontloaded primary contests, the Peach State autopsy will instead examine Republicans’ minority malady.
Former Hall County Commissioner Ashley Bell, who became a prominent black surrogate for Mitt Romney after a vaulted party defection in 2010, organized the meeting.
The meeting was first reported Tuesday by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, though it was billed as a “quiet, private therapy session” so exclusive that many of the state’s top Republicans in the state capitol had not been invited.
The exclusion of some party elders and major bundlers triggered predictable chafing, but a party official with knowledge of the meeting stressed it was not an intraparty affair.
Organizers, the official said, had invited black community leaders not especially integrated within the GOP machine. Many of them include former Democratic officials and operatives who, like Bell, had defected in recent years, according to a list of some 21 invited guests.
Republican election day performance among Asian and Hispanic voters was so distressing to senior party officials that Priebus commissioned a report, due in March, to diagnose deficiencies in outreach to minority groups. The Thursday confab will contribute to that audit.
- James Richardson