Opinion | Republican Party reboots the 2013 mayoral race with more successful agenda
Published: Thursday, March 21, 2013
Updated: Thursday, March 21, 2013 23:03
This past weekend, following the annual Conservative Political Action Conference, the Republican National Committee (RNC) released its 97-page analysis on the matter – detailing 219 suggested changes that could be made in order to win moving forward.
At the top of that list, was a change in messaging that shifts the current discussion from balanced budgets and social issues, towards a message that has worked for 30 Republican Governors – smaller more effective government and increased economic opportunity for all.
If they truly are interested in winning and flipping the six seats necessary to wrestle control of the Senate away from the Democrats in 2014, they will take these 219 suggested changes for a test run in 2013.
With a limited number of races to play in this year, that could prove to be easier said than done. However, if the RNC is looking for a race to test these changes out, they need look no farther than a neighbor just 30 odd minutes south – Cincinnati and the 2013 mayoral race.
Located at the heart of Hamilton County, often a deciding factor in state-wide elections, the city has a minority population that makes up over 50 percent of its total population. Furthermore, the city has over 60,000 people living in poverty.
One possible name being thrown around right now on the GOP side is Councilman Charlie Winburn.
Winburn, an African American, would seem to be a logical choice in a city made up largely of minority voters. However, having lost the mayoral elections back in 2005 and being gaffe prone, perhaps a safer alternative is current Hamilton County Commissioner Greg Hartman.
Whether it is Hartman or Winburn who ends up with the party’s nomination, both will present a very different agenda than Mayor Malory’s handpicked successor, Vice Mayor Roxanne Qualls.
Qualls would represent a continuation of the same policies that left the city’s pension systems hundreds of millions of dollars in debt, while at the same time pushing through unnecessary spending projects like a $64 million dollar plus streetcar project.
The Republican alternative this fall would represent a change for the better, scrapping wasteful spending projects and finding private partners to keep costs down for others. Something we see already being done with Hartman’s effort to involve 3CDC on the renovation of Memorial Hall – an effort that will save the taxpayers of Hamilton County $20 million dollars.
Still, reigning in spending and funding private partners to keep the taxpayer’s money from being spread too thin is just the tip of the iceberg. The Republican candidates for mayor will push pro-growth messages that focus on economic development and job creation, appealing to lower-income and minority voters.
All this means is if the republican candidates are successful in 2013 and take back the mayor’s office for the first time since Kenneth J. Blackwell was mayor 33 years ago in 1980, they will do so using a message that could prove to be successful to the party on a whole in 2014.
This race will allow the RNC to not only test its messaging, which they described last cycle as “weak and scary,” but it will also allow them the chance to retool their ground game, which they described as “insufficient.”
It will do so because any successful candidate will have to go into the heart of the city and engage with groups of people that the GOP has largely ignored – low-income minorities.
The mayoral candidates will have to explain to the people of Cincinnati how their policies help them move up the socio-economic ladder and make a better life for themselves right here at home.
Keeping that in mind, Chairman Priebus and the rest of the RNC should keep their eyes on this race, as it might just be the one race that catapults the Republican Party into the 21st century and helps us build a broad coalition of non-traditional supporters moving forward.