CHARLOTTE, N.C.—The Republican National Committee re-elected Reince Priebus to a second term as the organization's chairman on Friday. He will serve for two more years.
In his acceptance speech, Priebus focused on widespread criticism after the November presidential election that Republicans were perceived as a party for the privileged few. While he didn't specifically mention Mitt Romney's candid remark during the campaign that "47 percent" of the voting population would never support his candidacy, Priebus took pains to repudiate the notion that the Republican Party is exclusive and vowed to create a "permanent" Republican presence in historically Democratic areas.
"We want to be Republicans for everybody. We have to take our message of opportunity where it's not being heard," Priebus said. "We have to build better relationships in minority communities, urban centers and college towns. We need a permanent, growing presence. It doesn't matter where you live, who you are, what you look like or what your last name is. Because we will be a party for everyone, everywhere."
Committee members attending the conference concede that bringing in voters who supported Democrats in 2012—particularly minorities—will be an uphill challenge. And the address to the 168 RNC committee members did carry themes of repentance for Republican sins and admissions of failure in the past. But it also included promises to promote candidates who would work for the vote of all Americans.
"We must compete in every state and every region, building relationships with communities we haven't before," he said. "We must be a party concerned about every American in every neighborhood."
The bottom-line message: Give the GOP another chance. "We want to earn your trust again," said Priebus. "To those who have yet to join us, we welcome you with open doors and open arms. This is your home, too. There's more that unites us than you know."
The RNC in December commissioned a task force to analyze the 2012 presidential contest and gather input about the party's strategy for elections ahead. It plans to reveal the findings in March.