(WASHINGTON) — The Republican National Committee is tapping veteran GOP strategist Jennifer Sevilla Korn to lead the party’s effort to become competitive again with Latino voters, it announced Tuesday.
Korn will hold the titles Deputy Political Director and National Field Director for Hispanic Initiatives. Her selection comes as the GOP is looking for ways to rebuild its credibility with Latino voters after taking a shellacking in the 2012 presidential election, when President Obama won over seven in ten Latino votes.
RNC Chairman Reince Priebus said in a statement that Korn “will play a key role in directing our Hispanic engagement efforts to ensure that Republicans are building new relationships in the Hispanic community.”
The GOP’s failure to attract more non-white voters has become more magnified as the nation’s electorate grows more racially and ethnically diverse. The RNC commissioned a 97-page post-election autopsy report this year, which acknowledged that the party has alienated some of the fastest-growing voter groups in the country: African-Americans, Hispanics and Asian-Americans. The party has launched a project to spend $10 million on outreach to these voters.
That report called on the party to change its perception among Latino voters, in part by changing its hardline approach to immigration policy.
“We are not a policy committee, but among the steps Republicans take in the Hispanic community and beyond, we must embrace and champion comprehensive immigration reform,” says the report. “If we do not, our party’s appeal will continue to shrink to its core constituencies only.”
Korn served as Hispanic vote director on George W. Bush’s 2004 reelection campaign, the last Republican presidential bid that attracted enough Latino voters, 40 percent, to win an election.
She also worked in the Bush White House as Director of Hispanic and Women’s Affairs. During the 2012 election, Korn worked as Executive Director of the Hispanic Leadership Network, an offshoot of the center-right political group American Action Network.
“We have been successful in the past, and I know we can be successful in the future,” Korn said in a statement. “I intend to work arduously to reach new heights in growing the Republican Party.”
The RNC’s last Hispanic outreach director, Bettina Inclán, now works at the National Republican Congressional Committee.
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