PORTLAND -- The Republican National Committee plan to give the GOP a makeover and spend $10 million to get their message out was viewed as a big positive by Oregon Republican Party.
Executive director Greg Leo said the RNC plan was full of “positive changes,” and called the outreach a “great idea.” Leo said he expects to know soon how much outreach money will flow to Oregon.
The changes come after a report found the GOP's efforts to connect with voters do not help its cause.
"The way we communicate our principals is not resonating widely enough.Focus groups described our party as narrow minded, out of touch, and quote--stuffy old men," said RNC Chairman Reince Priebus during a speech in Washington D.C. Monday.
And there is some skepticism from a longtime Republican media strategist from Lake Oswego, who said the GOP has to modify some policies to gain voters.
“People aren’t stupid; they understand this stuff. They’re not going to change and go with you if you haven’t changed to allow them to come with you. It’s that simple,” said Jack Kane, President of Creative Strategies.
Republicans plan to make inroads with people that did not vote for them in large numbers in 2012, namely women, gay and minority voters. Hispanics are the fastest growing population in Oregon.
“I think people want an organization that is going to be establishing a long-term relationship with the Latino community, and that means caring their kids, caring about their families, about their jobs," said Gale Castillo, President of the Hispanic Metropolitan Chamber and a small business owner. "I hope that when they go out into the community and do outreach, they’re also listening about what the issues and concerns are that the Latino Community has.”
Kane hopes Republicans make gains, but he knows it is not an easy task in Oregon, where voters gave President Barack Obama more than 200,000 more votes than Mitt Romney in 2012.
“It’s gonna take some work, but there’s time to do it," Kane said. "All is not lost, and smarter minds need to take hold of this and run with it.”
Congressman Greg Walden (R) of Oregon’s 2nd District has a big hand in trying to turn around GOP fortunes: Walden was made chairman of the Republican National Congressional Committee, the campaign arm of the party responsible for getting Republicans elected to Congress.