GOP preps for 2014 push with new hires

The Republican National Committee (RNC) is beefing up its staff in an effort to revamp fundraising and increase outreach to faith-based groups and young voters.

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In the last week, the RNC announced it would bring on a former Facebook executive and promote one of its own to lead an outreach project to prep for the 2014 fundraising reason. The party has also reportedly hired the former chairman of the South Carolina Republican Party as part of an overall revamp.

After its loss in the November elections, the GOP released its “Growth and Opportunity Project,”  identifying ways to “ensure success in winning more elections.” Reaching out to ethnic minorities, faith-based organizations, young people, improving its brand-messaging and closing a “digital divide” between Democrats and the GOP are among strategic priorities included in the report.

Chad Connelly, the chairman of the South Carolina Republican Party and motivational speaker, will help the committee build its relationship with evangelicals, Republicans told CNN on Saturday.

The details of his position are not yet clear, but the GOP said it wanted to hire a full-time “faith-based outreach director” as one of the objectives the party set after 2012. That person should specifically “engage the Hispanic faith-based community in our efforts,” the document says.

The hire of Andy Barkett, a Facebook engineering manager, as its chief technology officer last Tuesday is meant to bridge the technology gap between Democrats and Republicans.

“Perhaps the area of campaign 2012 that received the most interest from a media standpoint is the ‘digital divide’ that existed between the GOP and the Democrats as a result of the Obama campaign’s significant commitment to building an in-house tech and digital team and sharing data resources across multiple entities within the campaign,” the Growth and Opportunity Project document says.

“If the RNC believes it needs to lead on message, then it should do so through public communications,” and abandon a focus on traditional TV advertising, it said in the 100-page paper.

“It’s essential that the Republican Party has the resources to drive voter turnout as we look toward the elections of 2014, 2016 and beyond,” said Barkett in a statement. “Silicon Valley welcomes the party’s efforts to be more creative and innovative, and I look forward to helping the party accomplish these goals.”

On Thursday, RNC Chairman Reince Priebus said Katie Walsh would become the organization’s finance director, a step up from her current position as deputy finance director. He said in a statement she would lead “the largest off-[election] year voter engagement project in RNC history.”

The project will focus on “investing in minority communities, and building out the party’s data, digital and technology operations,” the RNC said in a release.

“It’s essential that our Republican candidates have the necessary tools and proper funding to succeed as we take our message of growth and opportunity to voters in all states,” Priebus said. “Katie understands this, and it is her expertise that makes her the best-suited person to help us accomplish our goals.”