Can the Alabama Republican Party convince minority voters to change decades of voting patterns and come over to the GOP?
The party's chair thinks so and is putting some money behind the effort.
The Alabama Republican Party named Montgomery businessman Troy Towns as its Director of Minority Outreach this week.
It's a bet by the state party that they can and may even need to expand their base and in the process try to take race off the table when it comes to the voting booth.
"Even though we're not in actual fact the party of older white guys, that has been the perception of a lot of people," Chairman Bill Armistead said. "So I'm not only changing the perception, I'm changing the reality of what we're doing. That is, reaching out to these groups of African-Americans, Hispanics who might not identify with our party but agree with our philosophy."
Armistead says minority voters and the GOP both believe in job creation that can help all workers, and see eye to eye on social issues, which is what the party's new director of minority outreach will be charged with doing.
"They agree with us so often, but yet we've not helped them connect the dots to the fact that this is the party that shares in their values," Armistead said. "In fact one of the themes we'll be having as we enter into this new phase of the campaign is to vote your values."
"When you talk about abortion, when you talk about homosexuality, some of those issues resonate well between white Republicans and black voters," said Dr. Natalie Davis, FOX6 Political Analyst and Birmingham Southern political science professor.
Armistead says the party will field more black candidates for office next year than the last 10 combined, a show he says that the party is serious about reaching out.
"There is a certain reality here, where we have an affinity for people like ourselves," Dr. Davis said. "So to the extent that they can field African-American candidates, they certainly will pick up the votes. The question is what do those candidates have to say to black voters?"
Armistead says they will measure success by how many minority candidates they can field in coming elections and by the amount of minority voters they can bring in to vote for GOP candidates moving forward.
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