GOP Outreach Gets Serious

The Republican Party is looking for candidates to reflect America's rapidly changing demographics without sacrificing traditional principles.

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White House counsel Ed Gillespie walk towards the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, Monday, Sept. 17, 2007.

If the GOP shows any appreciable increase in support from what might be termed "non-traditional sectors of the Republican electorate," it should send a great big thank you card and a box of expensive cigars to former national chairman Ed Gillespie.

His wife may not appreciate the stogies, but the fact is that Gillespie, unlike any other recent previous Republican National Committee chairman save Haley Barbour, has continued to be aggressive about building the party even after leaving office.

In his latest foray, Gillespie, who heads up the Republican State Leadership Committee, has committed $6 million toward new metrics to identify 200 candidates and elect 75 new office holders in the next election cycle, doubling the Committee's goals from 2012.

[See a collection of political cartoons on Congress.]

"The Republican Party should better reflect the full diversity of our nation and the Future Majority Project is a key tool in recruiting, training and supporting new candidates who bring much needed voices to the table," Gillespie said in a release. "Our party, and more importantly our states and our nation, will work better when we can bring everyone to the table to solve problems."

Gillespie and the Committee launched the Future Majority Project in 2001. Chaired by GOP Governors Susana Martinez of New Mexico and Nevada's Brian Sandoval, it set goals in 2011 of identifying 100 new candidates of Hispanic descent. Successes last cycle include exceeding initial goals by identifying 125 candidates of Hispanic descent in 26 states, and increasing the caucus of Hispanic Republicans at the state level by one seat – which many view as progress considering the pasting the GOP has been taking in the press over the immigration issue.

[See a collection of political cartoons on immigration.]

The RSLC is also working to bring more women into the party through its Right Women, Right Now initiative, which identifies and supports Republican women candidates at the state level. Its goal in the last election was to identify 150 new Republican women candidates and get half of them elected to office, which it surpassed both in candidate identification and by electing 84 new Republican women to state office in 36 states.

There are those in Washington who think, who hope that the GOP's future is bleak, that a typically red state like Texas or Georgia will soon be turning blue as blueberries. That they won't is not only due to the overly-hyped predictions of left-leaning demographers and Democratic consultants as it is to the efforts by Gillespie and others around him to ensure that the party, rather than resting on its laurels, is continually looking for ways to improve its messaging, the quality of its campaign operations, and to find new candidates to carry the party standard that reflects America's rapidly changing demographics without sacrificing traditional GOP principles of limited government and local governance.

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