RNC Chairman Visits VA to Support Republican Candidates - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

RNC Chairman Visits VA to Support Republican Candidates

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The chairman of the Republican National Committee is in Virginia Thursday, making the rounds with Republican nominee for governor Ken Cuccinelli, but the RNC is focused on more than just Virginia's upcoming elections.

The RNC is looking long-term in an effort to expand its influence. This topic has been part of an internal discussion in the Republican Party since Mitt Romney lost in November's presidential elections: What can we do differently to make sure we win next time?

Experts say it all comes down to votes - more of them, from new places.

"The GOP probably has a lot of work to do with non-white voters," said Geoff Skelley of the University of Virginia Center for Politics.

Political experts at the UVA Center for Politics say the Republican Party is at a crossroads. Either it boosts support from non-white voters, or it risks forfeiting the growing number of minority voters to the Democratic Party.

In the last presidential election, Democrats won 80 percent of the non-white vote, with only 20 percent supporting the GOP.

The white vote was split 60-40 in favor of the Republican Party. That's basically the same ratio of votes we saw 25 years ago in 1988. But back then, George Bush Sr. walked away with an easy win. Today, Barack Obama takes it home.

So what's changed?

The number of minority voters in the electorate. It's basically doubled since 1988, from 15 to 28 percent.

"The fact that the non-white vote has grown so much, and has been so heavily Democratic has made it look like white voters have gotten more Republican than they actually have," said Skelley.

Analysts say passing immigration reform legislation in Congress and nominating minority candidates for office could help Republicans, but likely wouldn't be enough to sway minority voters. That, they say, will come down to outreach.

"If they can find those voters, they can do better. How many of those voters are there? Tough to say. But I think there are definitely ways they can improve," said Skelley.

That outreach effort is well underway here in Virginia.

In April it tapped a new state director, a new director of African-American engagement, and four other field reps hired to spur outreach to the Vietnamese, Korean, Filipino, and Indian-American communities.

It's all part of a permanent, nationwide campaign.

To read the full new of new Virginia hires, read below


Republican National Committee

Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today the Republican National Committee announced key staff hires in Virginia joining the existing team led by State Director Ryan Gough. The hires, in coordination with Virginia GOP, are part of the RNC's efforts to build a robust field operation to win in key 2013 elections as well as build a permanent campaign across the country.

"While we continue building out our permanent campaign across the country, all eyes will be on Virginia this year and I am excited to work with the Cuccinelli campaign and Republican Party of Virginia to build a top-notch field operation to win in November," said RNC Chairman Reince Priebus. "I am confident the RNC's early and strategic investment in community engagement, data technology, and get-out-the-vote efforts will pay dividends on election day in Virginia. We have more work to do, but we are building a formidable operation in Virginia as we work to elect Ken Cuccinelli and the Republican ticket, and prepare for next year's midterms."

Ryan Gough, State Director

Ryan, who is currently serving as State Director for Virginia, was previously Victory Director in Iowa during the 2012 presidential cycle. There he managed the largest team ever placed on the ground in Iowa which made the most voter contacts ever in that state for a presidential cycle. Ryan has also served various roles within the Iowa GOP including Organization Director, Iowa Caucus Coordinator, Deputy Communications Director and also organized Iowa's famous GOP Straw Poll.

Dr. Joe Ellison, Director of African American Engagement

Joe Ellison most recently was Director of Pastoral Relations and Church Ministries for the Virginia Pastors Coalition. For more than a decade, Dr. Ellison has been involved in grassroots politics to support the campaigns of candidates including George Allen, Jim Gilmore and Bob McDonnell. Dr. Ellison has also served as the Chairman of Mayors Commission on Youth Violence and on the Richmond Raceway Advisory Committee.  In addition, he was appointed to White House Commission on Faith Based Initiatives by former Sen. George Allen.

Daniel Do, Vietnamese American Field Representative  

Daniel has been a grassroots volunteer in Fairfax County and has assisted numerous state and local candidates with voter contact in the Vietnamese community in Virginia. 

Maria Kim, Korean American Field Representative  

A resident of Burke, Virginia, Maria most recently served as the Korean outreach coordinator for a Virginia lieutenant governor candidate, and has experience on Capitol Hill with the House Republican Conference. 

Felipe Cabacoy, Filipino American Field Representative

A resident of Norfolk, Virginia, Felipe is a community activist who has assisted on several political campaigns and helped the Filipino community dialog with local, state, and federal elected officials. 

Kishore Thota, Indian American Field Representative

A native of Colonial Heights, Virginia, Kishore is an active member of the Republican Indian Committee and the Virginia India Business Roundtable, and has worked on Capitol Hill for Reps. J. Randy Forbes (VA) and Tim Murphy (PA).

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