Reince Priebus says the RNC will no longer be held in August

The RNC Chair says June or July is prime time for a political convention.

Having both parties hold political conventions in late August is a relatively recent phenomenon. For a long time, that was never the case with the parties usually taking a month — not a week — in between their respective events, and the party out of power going first.

Democrats held their 2004 convention in Boston in July; Republicans held their 2000 convention in Philadelphia beginning the last week of July.

Priebus is accurate in that Romney was limited with funds because he could not spend money that was earmarked for the general election until he was the official party nominee, which did not happen until Wednesday, Aug. 29, at the RNC in Tampa. At that same time, the Democrats were spending money — lots of it — trying to define him early, especially as an out of touch plutocrat with an emphasis on his record at Bain Capital.

Republicans, including Priebus, have also complained that there were too many presidential political debates — though why that was a problem isn't clear. Priebus said he'd prefer not to begin any debates until September of the year before the election (the first debate in 2011 was in late spring). He also said he'd want to have more control over the monitors (though only one was hosted by MSNBC, the scourge of conservatives, while the others were hosted by all the major cable and broadcast news networks).

Priebus told Schieffer that the party has had a "quality of context problem," meaning that the party comes in and "parachutes" into a community to try to win an election, as opposed to what the Obama for America team did, which is keep active between the offices they created in 2008 and kept some around leading into the 2012 race.

"The Obama campaign lived in these communities for years; the relationships were deep and authentic," he said.

Priebus said the party will commit $10 million to pay hundreds of people from across the country, including citizens in black, Latino and Asian-American communities to keep people "talking about our brand, talking about what we believe in."

Schieffer asked Priebus to go furthur into that idea.

Priebus said that if a party doesn't have a presence in a community, things like Todd Akin's comment about "legitimate rape" can take on a life of their own.

"When there's a vacuum, the caricature becomes true," he said. "So if you've got unscripted moments, and you've got no relationship to explain anything, I believe you're a sitting duck."

Schieffer pressed on asking about the GOP's message.

Priebus said the message needs to be told in a way that relates to other Americans.

Regarding the GOP "parachuting in." The Obama team was very unique in what it accomplished, as the people involved were able in some cases to maintain offices and certainly relationships between 2008 and 2012. That's what allowed them a head start in critical battleground states like Florida and Ohio. They also had the winning edge on the Internet and social media, the former picking up many of the things that were opened up from Howard Dean's campaign in 2003.

More than 50,000 people were also interviewed in focus groups for the new report. Priebus said some of the feedback was difficult to hear, like the fact that most people perceive the party as being a bunch of "stuffy old guys."

Priebus said with people like Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, Nikki Haley and others, the party is diverse and young.

"We've done a really lousy job of branding and marketing about who we are," he said.

  • Reince Priebus

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said the GOP has a problem with its branding.

Some might suggest it's the brand that has issues.

The night before a comprehensive report was released by a blue ribbon task force about why the party lost the presidential election last year, Priebus revealed some of the report's highlights to CBS' Bob Schieffer on Face The Nation. These included reducing the number of televised debates, and moving the date of the RNC from late August to July or June.

"I believe that our primary process is way too long," Priebus said. "I think our calendar needs to be looked at. I think our debate calendar needs to be shrunk. I think we had way too many debates, with our candidates slicing and dicing each other and I think they had way too long to get to the convention. I'm calling for a convention in June or July. We're going to set up a commission that's going to make that decision ... but no more August conventions."


Since 1988, CL Tampa Bay has served as the free, independent voice of Tampa Bay, and we want to keep it that way.

Becoming a CL Tampa Bay Supporter for as little as $5 a month allows us to continue offering readers access to our coverage of local news, food, nightlife, events, and culture with no paywalls.

Join today because you love us, too.

Scroll to read more News Feature articles

Join Creative Loafing Tampa Bay Newsletters

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.