Oklahoma House Speaker T.W. Shannon, the only black Republican speaker in the country, will appear at fundraisers and other events on behalf of the Republican National Committee, which is reeling from back-to-back presidential losses and struggling to cope with a changing racial and ethnic makeup in America.
“Your speaker here is a rising star of our entire country,” said Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus, during an appearance with Shannon, R-Lawton, at the state Capitol.
“He's somebody that we see as a party as being a person we'd love to build a party around and help him. But more importantly I think he can really help us as well.”
Priebus said Monday that Shannon will appear at a couple fundraiser events with former Vice President Dick Cheney later this month in Texas.
Oklahoma, dominated by Republican elected officials, has one of the best business climates in the U.S., which can be attributed to the GOP leadership, he said.
The Republican National Committee plans this year to send hundreds of party workers into Hispanic, black and Asian communities to promote itself among voters who overwhelmingly supported Democrats in 2012.
The Republican National Committee does well in off-presidential election years, with GOP candidates doing well in gubernatorial and legislative races, but miserably in presidential elections, Priebus said.
Republicans haven't won a decisive presidential victory in 24 years.
Priebus called the presidential primary system “a total disaster.”
The convention needs to be sooner than late August or early September, probably in June, he said.
“We need to overhaul our primary system,” he said. “The 23 debates and a traveling circus is something that we need to end in this country. The idea of allowing our debates to be moderated by people who are in the business of creating news at the expense of our candidates and our party has to end.”