Republicans Seek Success But Face Mutiny From Within

New report sets sights on outreach, so does new conservative group.

Michigan Rep. Justin Amash, left, and Idaho Rep. Raul Labrador are among the congressman pushing for more purity within the GOP.

Michigan Rep. Justin Amash, left, and Idaho Rep. Raul Labrador are among the congressman pushing for more purity within the GOP.

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Republicans may be headed down a path of greater inclusion, as outlined in a recent report on what they could do to broaden their appeal, but they still have to deal with warring factions within their own ranks.

It's a tension between party elites and the grassroots that first emerged during the rise of the Tea Party ahead of the 2010 elections, but was papered over by the widespread GOP victories.

[BROWSE: Political cartoons on the Republican Party]

Now, following election losses in 2012, the chasm may be bursting open, even as the party writ large re-evaluates its tactics and messaging.

"The party has been a very Washington-focused, Washington-driven for many years now. All I'm saying is the people in America need to take responsibility and they need to have the power back with them," says Lorie Medina, chairman of the Real Conservatives National Committee, a group launched Tuesday to spearhead a grassroots effort unrelated to the Republican National Party.

Medina scoffed at the 'self-autopsy' released Monday by the national party as a means of rebooting by boosting appeal with Hispanics and women, as well as suggesting mechanical campaign changes, such as moving the convention date and limiting the number of presidential primary debates.

"If I was waiting on them to get something done, it would never get done and that's the point," Medina says. "We're doing what needs to get done because we are tired of waiting on them. When you look at the report it doesn't address some of these things."


Medina, who lives in Texas and campaigned hard in Virginia on behalf of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, says rather than hire a new digital team, the party really needs to invest in people-to-people campaigning, even in the election offseason. She uses President Barack Obama's campaign arm, Organizing for Action (formerly known as Organizing for America) as an example.

"Obama just changed what OFA stood for – they still exist, they are still working," Medina says. "Republicans, we close up shop Nov. 7, go take a long vacation, and then a couple months before the next presidential election, we wake up and try to re-work a few old lists and that's it. I say we've got to start now."

But Republican consultants who work in Washington are pleased with Monday's report and its recommendations, which do include improving community outreach.

"Outreach could make a huge difference, but I think they need to start immediately," says one Republican political consultant who worked to elect Romney and declined to use his name.

He adds that any ovations made to groups like Latinos and women will take time to bear fruit.

"And I don't think outreach in these communities is going to help us by 2014; that is a multi-year effort that is long overdue," he says.

Another GOP consultant and former RNC official also offers praise for RNC Chairman Reince Priebus' willingness to be open about the party's shortcomings.

[READ: GOP Issues Harsh Report on 2012 Election Failings]

"Clearly the party needs to evolve, and clearly there are changes that need to take place internally at the RNC, both on a messaging level and on an operational level on how they engage with outside groups, third party groups, sister organizations and political operatives throughout the country," he says. "I think this is a good step and I think it takes a lot of courage."

Medina's group is scheduled to hold organizing events on June 15 in at least 50 locations in an effort to canvass congressional districts of "liberal Republican incumbents" to see if they would be vulnerable to a more conservative primary opponent.

It's the kind of effort that the RNC report largely aims to tamp down, and further widens the already deep fissures within in the party.

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