The Republican National Committee says black voters are "curious" about conservative policies and it's time to capitalize on that curiosity.
To educate and recruit black and urban voters, the RNC recently launched a comprehensive mobilization campaign called "#CommittedToCommunity."
The campaign kicked off Sunday in the swing state of Ohio where Republican White House contenders are set to gather on Aug. 6 for the Party's first presidential primary debate and where the Republican National Convention will be held in Cleveland next July.
Over the next four weeks, the RNC plans to host a concert series and issue forums, and run radio ads in several media markets across the Buckeye State. The committee will also collaborate with black media outlet, Radio One, in a joint media venture in an effort to disseminate its message to black voters.
According to Radio One CEO, Alfred Liggins, the company reaches 82 percent of black Americans through "television, radio and digital multi-media platforms."
"Our reach, relationships with black churches, organizations, entertainers, and our unique understanding of our primary audience makes us a high-value partner to organizations like the RNC," Liggins said in a press release.
RNC spokesman Orlando Watson says the primary focus of the campaign will be addressing issues that are particularly important to black voters including job creation, education, family, and community.
"If nothing else, black voters are curious: 'What are [Republicans] talking about?'" Watson told Cleveland.com. "We want to give them those opportunities to find out."
According to Watson, Republicans may benefit tremendously if they can teach African-Americans about the failures of big government and encourage them to embrace conservative alternatives.
James Ervin Jr., who serves as president of the Ohio Black Republicans Association, applauds the GOP for wanting to communicate with black voters "on a more one-on-one basis." But he says the RNC could run into trouble depending on how the campaign is received by blacks.
"The party will have to make a real effort to demonstrate this isn't a political tactic or some kind of ploy to cater to African-Americans just because we need them now," Ervin told the Washington Examiner.
The outreach campaign is still in a "pilot phase," according to Watson. Using metrics-based engagement results, the committee will determine if #CommittedToCommunity is a success and subsequently expand it to other states with large percentages of black voters.
"Election says is the ultimate test," says Watson. "But we can track how much data we receive and we can activate new voters as media surrogates and volunteers."
According to the Philadelphia Tribune, the RNC's mobilization campaign has even received from its democratic counterpart.
DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz called the strategy "smart" and "effective" during a speech at the NAACP's national convention on Monday.