Reince Priebus: 2016 win requires ‘about perfect’ GOP campaign

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Reince Priebus

WASHINGTON (CNN) — Reince Priebus says he’s leaning toward running for a third two-year term as chairman of the Republican National Committee so that he can helm what needs to be an “about perfect” campaign to defeat Democrats in a presidential election.

Priebus told reporters at a breakfast hosted by the Christian Science Monitor on Friday that he’d remain focused on the “mechanics” of politics — including improving Republicans’ collection of data targeting individual voters and its field operation in presidential battleground states.

His comments came with an eye on 2016, when Republicans fear the favorable electorate they found in this year’s midterm elections will be drowned out by a much larger turnout among left-leaning voters.

Priebus pointed to wins this year in Senate races in Colorado, Iowa and North Carolina — three states that President Barack Obama carried at least once — as demonstrating that the GOP can win “in a purple state in a good environment with a good candidate,” and offering hope ahead of 2016.

But, he said, Republicans will have to run a flawless national campaign — including increasing outreach to Hispanic, Asian and black communities and targeting people who often don’t vote.

“I think we’ve got to be about perfect as a national party to win,” he said. “Democrats can be good and win, and we’ve got to be great.”

3-Republican_400x225 GOPHe said the RNC won’t pull its staff out of presidential battleground states, and said “we need to have a full-blown field operation in place” by March 2015 in the key states of Florida, Ohio and Virginia. That, he said, is a tall task when staffers are tired and donors are tapped out.

But, Priebus said, the party’s huge wins in 2014 will help wipe out the bitter taste that was left in many GOP donors’ mouths after the 2012 election.

“Our investors at the RNC are excited that the mechanics work, and they can see that a good, competent program on the ground is something they’ll invest in immediately in 2015,” he said.

He underscored the party’s plans to limit the number of primary debates and curtail its grueling nominating schedule, and said he’ll also be more willing than he was in 2012 to criticize candidates who spend too much time “slicing each other apart.”

“There’s going to be a high level of disdain,” Priebus said, “for candidates who spend their time trying to destroy other Republicans.”