by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
The search is on for the next Republican political success story, and party operatives are turning their focus and efforts to those running for office on the state legislative level and building the next generation of national candidates.
The Republican State Leadership Committee, a committee focused on supporting campaigns for state legislative races and state attorney general races, launched a campaign earlier this month called the “Right Leaders Network” that seeks to encourage women and minority candidates to run for office.
“It will be a mentoring program for all those candidates that may be thinking about running or may need a push to run hard, but may actually want to talk to someone that has done it before,” RSLC board member and former Puerto Rico Gov. Luis Fortuno said of the new initiative.
An RSLC panel last week that focused on candidate recruitment featured congressional GOP stars Sens. Marco Rubio of Florida, Tim Scott of South Carolina, and Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, along with Reps. Ashley Hinson of Iowa and Young Kim of California. All five of them started in politics at the state level and fit the profile of a unique background that has led to Republican electoral success in recent years.
Having a different background helped them reach voters in a different way, they said. White and male politicians still make up the majority of Republicans at the national level as the country and workforce become more diverse in terms of gender and ethnicity.
“Sometimes we as Republicans are really, really good on the technical, but where we dropped the ball is on that emotional tie,” Blackburn said. …
… In order to flip seats and win majorities in state legislatures and in Congress, Republicans know that choosing the right candidates is key to success.