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Republicans Set Up Group to Examine Party’s Political Shortfalls

Dec. 10 (Bloomberg) -- The Republican National Committee has created a group to study how the party can improve its image and performance following an election where its failure to defeat President Barack Obama spotlighted demographic and technological shortfalls compared with Democrats.

The Growth and Opportunity Project, announced today by RNC Chairman Reince Priebus, will focus on these and other areas, including messaging, fundraising, demographic outreach, the party’s primary process and the impact of third parties.

Priebus appointed five party leaders to head the group, including national committee member Henry Barbour of Mississippi, who is the nephew of former RNC Chairman Haley Barbour, and Ari Fleischer, White House press secretary under President George W. Bush.

Rounding out the group’s leaders are Zori Fonalledas of Puerto Rico and Glenn McCall of South Carolina -- both RNC members -- and political strategist Sally Bradshaw, a longtime consultant to former Florida Governor Jeb Bush.

“I look forward to working with these outstanding Republicans as they conduct rigorous analysis and engage in important conversations” with activists, donors, elected officials and others to help the party move forward, Priebus said in a statement.

Exit polls of voters in the Nov. 6 election showed Obama dominated Republican challenger Mitt Romney among single women, Hispanics, blacks and younger voters as the president carried eight of nine states both camps had viewed as the most competitive. Republicans have also acknowledged Obama’s campaign utilized superior technological tools for online fundraising and get-out-the-vote efforts.

Priebus, 40, is seeking a second term as the party’s chairman at a RNC gathering next month in Charlotte, North Carolina, the same city where Democrats held their national convention in September.

To contact the reporter on this story: John McCormick in Chicago at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jeanne Cummings at

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