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January 25, 2013

Stop Obsessing Over Budget, Jindal Tells Hill GOP

Stop Obsessing Over Budget, Jindal Tells Hill GOP

Jindal spoke at the Republican National Committee's winter meeting Thursday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Stop obsessing over the federal budget and start focusing on policies that benefit the middle class and stimulate economic growth. That’s the message Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal has for congressional Republicans as the GOP charts a path forward post-2012.

In a speech at the Republican National Committee ‘s winter meeting a few blocks from where President Barack Obama was nominated for a second term, Jindal delivered tough advice to a party trying to rebound after a rough 2012 election cycle. That included an admonition to stop being the “stupid party.”

But in remarks focused on the need for the GOP to prioritize reaching out to, and persuading, voters of all political stripes and backgrounds, Jindal also offered pointed advice for Republicans on Capitol Hill.

“A debate about which party can better manage the federal government is a very small and shortsighted debate. If our vision is not bigger than that, we do not deserve to win,” Jindal said Thursday evening. “Today’s conservatism is completely wrapped up in solving the hideous mess that is the federal budget, the burgeoning deficits, the mammoth federal debt, the shortfall in our entitlement programs … even as we invent new entitlement programs. We seem to have an obsession with government bookkeeping.” Full story

By David M. Drucker Posted at 10:41 a.m.
RGA, RNC

January 24, 2013

RNC Report to Address Candidate Recruiting

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Improving candidate recruitment at all levels is a key focus of a Republican National Committee project to overhaul GOP operations and position the party to better compete in the 2014 and 2016 elections.

The five-member task force appointed to examine the Republican Party’s weaknesses and chart a path forward said recommendations on attracting appealing, demographically diverse candidates to run for office at all levels will likely be included in its report, due in March. Task force members said the GOP must engage in a concerted, prolonged effort to recruit talented politicians — particularly women and ethnic minorities — if the party hopes to keep pace with the Democrats.

“This is not a difficult equation to complete,” Sally Bradshaw, a Republican consultant and task force member from Florida, told reporters during a news conference to update the group’s progress. Full story

Nevada Ron Paul Supporters to Nominate Priebus

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Reince Priebus, running unchallenged for re-election as Republican National Committee chairman, has secured the support of Nevada GOP Chairman Michael McDonald and Silver State RNC committeeman James Smack, sources said Thursday afternoon.

In fact, McDonald and Smack are set to serve as two of the six nominators (two each from three different states) that Priebus needs to secure on a position on the ballot.

Although Priebus’ re-election is not in doubt, their decision to back the incumbent chairman could prove significant for the RNC moving forward. Both supported former Texas Rep. Ron Paul’s failed 2012 bid for the GOP presidential nomination, and last year’s takeover of the Nevada GOP by Paul supporters caused top Silver State Republicans, the RNC and White House nominee Mitt Romney to build a shadow party to handle the basic political activities usually overseen by the state party.

Dysfunctional state parties in key states, such as Nevada, are believed to be among the factors that put Romney and other Republican candidates at a disadvantage against President Barack Obama and downticket Democrats last cycle.

RNC members are in Charlotte for the party’s annual winter meeting as the GOP attempts to chart a path forward in the aftermath of the November elections, in which Obama was handily re-elected and Democrats netted two Senate seats. Among the lingering issues from the 2012 cycle was a small division that opened up between the Republican establishment and Paul supporters, who remain active in various state parties.

January 23, 2013

RNC Meets in Charlotte for Winter Meeting

Members of the Republican National Committee descended upon Charlotte, N.C., on Wednesday to kick off the committee’s three-day winter meeting.

The headline of the RNC’s post-election meeting is always the race for chairman, but this year Reince Priebus, who was first elected in 2011, appears headed to a comfortable re-election. Despite a convincing victory in November for President Barack Obama, Priebus is credited with getting the RNC out of debt, and he has claimed an overwhelming majority of support among the RNC’s 168 voting members.

Beyond Friday’s officer elections, the gathering in Charlotte — where Democrats held their national convention in September — also features training sessions and business meetings, including debates over rules changes. The theme this year is to renew, grow and win, and the strategy sessions will focus on the tools needed to appeal to a wider range of voters and ultimately win more elections.

January 4, 2013

Obama Campaign Fined $375,000

The Federal Election Commission has imposed a $375,000 fine on President Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign for reporting violations, Politico is reporting, citing as-yet-unpublished FEC documents.

The fine appears to stem from missing reports for close to 1,300 donations totaling more than $1.8 million, according to Politico, which obtained a copy of a conciliation agreement that was shared with the Republican National Committee, one of the original complainants. The fine is described as one of the largest-ever imposed on a presidential campaign.

Obama campaign spokeswoman Katie Hogan told Politico that at the time, the Obama team was collecting record contributions from more than 3 million donors, and that “the very few outstanding questions about the $750 million that was raised have now all been resolved.”

In other FEC news, Commissioner Cynthia Bauerly has announced that she will resign effective Feb. 1. The move is sure to increase pressure on Obama to name new members to the frequently-deadlocked FEC, which is comprised mostly of holdover commissioners.

Bauerly, a Democrat, is one of five commissioners on the six-member commission whose terms have expired. Activists opposed to unrestricted political money have become increasingly shrill in their demands that Obama name new commissioners, staging press conferences and launching a petition drive aimed at forcing a White House response.

December 17, 2012

Rehabbing Nevada GOP a Priority for Priebus in 2nd RNC Term

Rehabbing Nevada GOP a Priority for Priebus in 2nd RNC Term

Priebus is running for a second term as Republican National Committee chairman. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

As Reince Priebus sketches his agenda for another term as chairman of the Republican National Committee, rehabilitating a set of dysfunctional state parties has emerged as a top priority, particularly in key battlegrounds such as Nevada.

In an interview, Priebus confirmed that he has held multiple conversations with the Nevada Republican Party chairman and other Silver State GOP officials, with meetings planned in January to discuss how the RNC might help the Nevada GOP transform itself. The party was so organizationally debilitated throughout 2012 that it was incapable of performing even basic party-building activities, causing the RNC and top state Republicans to form a shadow party to run essential operations such as voter turnout.

“Clearly being successful at the RNC requires having state parties that are extremely successful as well,” Priebus told CQ Roll Call late last week. “That means raising funds and building armies and doing all the work on the ground and on the financial sides to be successful, and we recognize that in some areas we need to make improvements.”

Full story

December 10, 2012

RNC Announces Postelection Self-Examination

The political autopsies of 2012 are continuing more than a month after Republicans fell short in the race for the White House and lost ground in both the House and Senate.

The newest postmortem announcement came from Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus. In a statement Monday, he announced a new “initiative to grow the Republican Party and improve future Republican campaigns.” It’s called the Growth and Opportunity project.

There will be five chairmen of the effort. They are:

  • Henry Barbour, a national committeeman from Mississippi
  • Sally Bradshaw, a veteran senior strategist in Florida and national politics
  • Ari Fleischer, the former White House press secretary
  • Zori Fonalledas, a national committeewoman from Puerto Rico
  • Glenn McCall, a national committeeman from South Carolina Full story

December 6, 2012

In Private Meeting, RNC, GOP Digital Strategists Look to Improve

Several dozen Republican digital strategists met at the Capitol Hill Club on Thursday to hear what worked and what didn’t from the digital heads of the Mitt Romney campaign and the Republican National Committee.

According to three sources in the room, the two-hour meeting was a review of the key metrics from the campaign and a discussion about how the party can improve its digital strategies and prepare for 2016. It is widely acknowledged that President Barack Obama’s re-election victory was built in part on a vastly superior digital effort.

The “entire GOP digital world” was there, one source said, plus representatives from Google, Facebook and Twitter. The meeting was led by Romney Digital Director Zac Moffatt, RNC Digital Director Tyler Brown and RNC Chief of Staff Jeff Larson. Full story

By Kyle Trygstad Posted at 5:41 p.m.
RNC

November 16, 2012

Priebus Running for Another Term as RNC Chair

Priebus Running for Another Term as RNC Chair

Priebus announced Friday that he is seeking a second term as chairman of the Republican National Committee. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Reince Priebus is running for a second two-year term as chairman of the Republican National Committee, he announced in a letter to RNC members.

Priebus, who in the letter claimed the backing of 130 committee members, was credited throughout the past election cycle with rehabilitating the RNC’s reputation among the major donor set and bringing sound management to an organization that was saddled with debt. The RNC had more than $20 million in debt when he took over in early 2011 and was deemed to have been mismanaged by Priebus’ predecessor, Michael Steele. Many Republicans have encouraged him to run for re-election.

But Priebus’ leadership has been questioned by some conservative and GOP activists since the Nov. 6 elections, which saw President Barack Obama handily defeat Mitt Romney for re-election and the Republicans lose two Senate seats despite a favorable playing field. Receiving particular focus were the perceived failings of Romney’s voter turnout operation, jointly led by the RNC through its Victory program. Priebus touted the GOP ground game in his letter to committee members.

“Through all of our hard work and focus we changed course and got our committee back on sound financial footing, breaking fundraising records, and restoring donor trust,” Priebus wrote in the letter, which was obtained by Roll Call. “We deployed a Republican ground game that was the strongest in history.  We harnessed new technology and built upon our outreach efforts, reaching more voters and spreading the Republican message. However, there is still much more that needs to be done to strengthen and grow our Party, and to overcome new challenges we now face.”

Priebus, the Wisconsin GOP chairman in the 2010 cycle, said he was headed out of town Friday for a vacation with his family and planned to reach out to those RNC members he hasn’t spoken with after he returns.

By David M. Drucker Posted at 5:52 p.m.
Republicans, RNC

November 6, 2012

John Boehner: A Republican House Means No Tax Rate Hikes

John Boehner: A Republican House Means No Tax Rate Hikes

Speaker John Boehner addresses the crowd at the Republican National Committee election night party in D.C. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call)

Speaker John Boehner drew a firm line on taxes tonight, saying that Republicans’ retention of the House majority is a sign the public does not want a tax rate hike.

With CNN and NBC projecting that the GOP will retain the House majority, Boehner and National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Pete Sessions (Texas) took the stage at the GOP’s victory party in Washington, D.C., to cheer on the crowd.

“The American people want solutions, and tonight, they’ve responded by renewing our majority,” the Ohio Republican said. “With this vote, the American people have also made clear that there is no mandate for raising tax rates.”

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus did not join them onstage, although the official schedule released earlier in the day had listed him as speaking before Sessions.

With Democrats claiming several Tossup Senate seats, the path to victory for Republicans in that chamber is slimming. The presidential contest remains extremely close as well.

Boehner thanked Priebus from the stage nonetheless. He also thanked GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney and vice presidential nominee Rep. Paul Ryan (Wis.), who, he said “carried the banner of our party with grace, vision, strength and dignity.”

“We stand ready to work with any willing partner — Republican, Democrat or otherwise — who shares a commitment to getting these things done,” he said. “We’re humbled to have again been entrusted by the American people with the responsibility of leading the People’s House. We’ll never take it for granted, and we won’t let you down.”

Sessions, who introduced Boehner, called the House an “incubator of ideas.”

“We will continue to work with the American people on ideas that will make our country stronger, more competitive and will build back the American dream,” he said.

John Boehner to Address RNC Party

John Boehner to Address RNC Party

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Speaker John Boehner will address the crowd at the Republican National Committee party in Washington, D.C., tonight according to a late news release from his office.

The Ohio Republican’s comments will come around 9:50 p.m. at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center, after remarks from RNC Chairman Reince Priebus and National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Pete Sessions (Texas).

Although many elections results should be in by that time, it is unlikely the presidential race will be decided by that hour. As a result, it remains unclear what tack Boehner will take in his speech. In recent interviews from the campaign trail, Boehner has been saying he wants to delay until the new year several issues that Congress could consider during the lame-duck session and that he sees raising tax rates on the highest earners — a stated priority of the Obama administration — as a nonstarter.

September 18, 2012

New England Republicans, More Democrats Decry Mitt Romney’s Comments

At least two Republican Senate candidates have publicly disagreed with their presidential nominee’s view that the 47 percent of Americans who pay no income taxes consider themselves “victims” and are “dependent upon government.”

“That’s not the way I view the world,” Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) said, joining a chorus of Democrats who chided Romney’s comments.

“I disagree with Gov. Romney’s insinuation that 47 percent of Americans believe they are victims who must depend on the government for their care,” former World Wrestling Executive Linda McMahon (R) said in a statement for her Connecticut Senate bid.

Earlier this week, the liberal magazine Mother Jones released a surreptitiously recorded video of Romney speaking to donors during a May fundraiser in Florida. The GOP nominee’s casual comments reverberated throughout the political world and down the Congressional ballot. Full story

August 29, 2012

Dick Durbin: Conventions Are On the Way Out

Dick Durbin: Conventions Are On the Way Out

(Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

TAMPA, Fla. — Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (Ill.) arrived at the Republican National Convention to provide rapid Democratic response, but he also questioned whether the party nomination hoopla might soon be a thing of the past.

“I wonder about conventions as part of our political process,” Durbin said tonight in an interview with Roll Call in the media workspace at the RNC. “It’s a pretty expensive undertaking and time-consuming undertaking, and the day may come, in the world of social media, that there’s another way to do this.” Full story

Rick Santorum Rallies Like a Candidate

Rick Santorum Rallies Like a Candidate

(Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call)

TAMPA, Fla. — This week, it’s hard not to wonder whether former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) keeps thinking, “It should have been me.” Full story

August 28, 2012

GOP Delegates Nominate Mitt Romney; Ron Paul Backers Protest

GOP Delegates Nominate Mitt Romney; Ron Paul Backers Protest

(Chris Maddaloni CQ/Roll Call File Photo)

TAMPA, Fla. — Mitt Romney cinched his party’s nomination early this evening, capturing sufficient support among delegates at the Republican National Convention.

The Republican faithful erupted into cheers as Speaker John Boehner (Ohio) announced Romney collected the support of 2,061 delegates. Immediately following, House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan (Wis.) was nominated by acclamation for vice president.

However, the nominations of Romney and Ryan were preceded by an intraparty feud over a new RNC rules package pushed through by party officials and the former Massachusetts governor’s campaign and opposed by some grass-roots conservatives and delegates supportive of Rep. Ron Paul (Texas). Delegates for and against the rules changed tried to shout each other down multiple times.

Still, the fighting ended when the convention program moved on to the roll call vote of nominating delegates. In traditional style, officials announced their delegate tallies, state by state. New Jersey put Romney over the edge, pushing the new nominee past the necessary 1,144 votes around 5:40pm.

Full story

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