Chairman Says Republican Party Must Change - ABC5 News Des Moines, IA

Chairman Says Republican Party Must Change

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By Alex Schuman

aschuman@myabc5.com

@alexschuman

Republicans did not have a good day on Nov. 6th, 2012.  Americans re-elected a democratic president, kept a democratic Senate and added Democrats to the House of Representatives.

Despite Republicans' major successes in the 2010 mid-term elections, party leaders believe it might be time to make changes to the Grand Old Party. 

"Let's face it," said Reince Priebus, Republican National Committee chairman. "We haven't won a decisive race - really decisive presidential race - in 24 years.  This didn't just happen.  This has been slowly going on in this country."

Priebus stopped in Des Moines Thursday afternoon as part of nationwide listening tour.  Local Republican leadership and heavily-involved members explained to him in a private meeting that the party must get broader.

One of the most important things he took away from the meeting was a belief that the party needs to start accepting growing conservative movements like Libertarians.

"Liberty Republicans are a big piece of a growing party that's young that cares about issues like freedom, the Constitution," he said.

Priebus considers winning the youth vote crucial to the party's future. 

"Patterns usually suggest that if you start identifying with one party you may stay there the rest of your life," said David Oman, former chair of the Iowa Republican Party. "If we lose that cohort right now, we may not have them for a long time and be the minority party for too long."

Priebus does not think the party needs to change its values to attract new members.  Instead, he wants to concentrate on data-gathering, social media and start campaigning sooner.

"It's a recognition that we're in the world of permanent politics," he said.

The chairman plans to give a list of recommendations to the party based on what he's heard from Republicans on March 18th.

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