Politico

RNC commissions ‘review’ of party tactics after disappointing midterm

The Republican National Committee is launching a review of the party’s performance in the midterm election and bringing on a team of outside advisers to help guide strategy, as the GOP reckons with its disappointing performance in the election.

The RNC is tapping nearly a dozen people to serve in what it’s calling a “Republican Party Advisory Council” – a group that includes former Donald Trump White House adviser Kellyanne Conway, evangelical leader Tony Perkins and a pair of Senate candidates who ran this year.

Separately, the committee is starting what senior Republicans are describing as a “review” of the party’s mechanics during the midterms, which is being led by RNC members. The RNC is expected to publish the findings sometime during the first half of 2023.

Republican officials say they are moving to address broader concerns confronting the GOP in the wake of the midterms, when the party underperformed expectations in a political environment many felt was to their advantage.

RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel said in a statement announcing the advisory council: “As we assess the midterms and plan for 2024, we are gathering a diverse range of respected leaders in our movement to join together and help chart a winning course in the years to come. I am thrilled that this talented group of Republicans will be shoulder to shoulder with us as we work to grow our party, hold Democrats accountable, and elect Republicans.”

The launch of the group comes as McDaniel, the longest-serving RNC chair in more than a century, moves to fight off a potential leadership challenge. New York Rep. Lee Zeldin, who waged an unsuccessful campaign for governor, has said he is “seriously considering” running against McDaniel, and has been reaching out to RNC members in anticipation of a campaign.

Republicans say the council is designed to bring in new voices to the party and to provide guidance on matters like outreach to minorities and suburban female voters, groups that the GOP has often struggled to win over.

The list of members includes Alabama Sen.-elect Katie Britt, Texas Rep.-elect Monica De La Cruz and Rep.-elect John James, a Black Republican who hails from McDaniel’s home state of Michigan.

The panel will also include former Arizona Senate candidate Blake Masters, who in the wake of his loss has called on the party to move on from “consultant one-size-fits-all strategies.”

“Our party needs to modernize. We’re fighting against Big Tech, the media, and now, the Democrats’ GOTV early voting machine,” Masters said in a statement. “I look forward to working with Ronna to make sure the party effectively supports our candidates and wins big in 2024.”

Family Research Council president Perkins, a former McDaniel detractor who last year assailed the chairwoman after the RNC launched an initiative aimed at outreach to gay voters, is also part of the group.

In a statement announcing his new role, Perkins made clear he was with the McDaniel camp. “Americans of faith are the heartbeat of the Republican vote,” he said. “I have witnessed firsthand how Chairwoman McDaniel understands this, and I am thrilled to continue to work with her to advance these core values.”

Top Republicans say they expect the post-election review to begin following next week’s Georgia Senate runoff. It will be led by Henry Barbour, a Mississippi RNC committeeman and the nephew of ex-RNC Chair Haley Barbour, and Harmeet Dhillon, a California RNC committeewoman and attorney.

Barbour was also a co-author of the post-2012 election RNC autopsy, when the party moved to address concerns about messaging and strategy following Mitt Romney’s loss to Barack Obama in the presidential contest.

In a letter to RNC members sent earlier this month, McDaniel said the review was aimed at assessing “where the party excelled and where we need to improve, especially in the clear underperformance among independent voters that we saw … and offer ideas as to how we do better in the future.”

McDaniel allies say they are confident she has the support needed to win reelection when the 168-member committee gathers for its annual winter meeting in January in Dana Point, Calif. They recently released a list of over 100 RNC members who backed her, more than the majority she would need to secure another term.

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