BELLEVUE, Wash. – Before walking into a standing room only fundraiser for the Washington State Republican Party, RNC Chairman Reince Priebus repeated his belief that Washington State will be a battleground for the GOP in 2012, reasoning that Pres. Barack Obama has poisoned the Democratic brand.

“I think the President’s record on jobs, the economy, this debate we’re having nationally over whether we need to cut spending, to increase the debt ceiling — I think people are going to measure 2012 on Barack Obama’s record,” Priebus told NW Daily Marker.

Though the 2010 gains made by Republicans in Washington State fell short of most expectations, Preibus said that Pres. Obama’s continued poor record on managing the economy and keeping promises made to voters are why the next election will be an up or down vote on Obama and the party he leads.

“We’re going to have a direct referendum on Barack Obama in 2012,” Priebus said. “I think people here, just like my home state of Wisconsin, understand that even independents–and even soft Democrats–understand that this president is in love with the sound of his own voice but is not in love with following through on his promises.”

Obama and his administration have taken considerable heat from gay and immigrant communities for de-prioritizing pledges that had been crowd-pleasers on the stump circuit leading up to the 2008 election but were not acted upon when Democrats had complete power in Congress during Obama’s first two years in office.

Priebus is not a political newcomer. Having overseen a historic shift in the political alignment of the previously solid-blue state of Wisconsin, he knows that re-coloring an entire state requires more than the political vulnerability of the opposing party. Winning requires money, and lots of it.

“We need to empower the states to get this work done,” Priebus said. “It’s a lot easier when you have more money.”

Priebus says the RNC is committed to being Washington’s financial partner in the fight. WSRP Chairman Kirby Wilbur announced last week that the RNC would make “light” media buys in Washington to air new TV ads, including a 30-second spot that refreshes the cliché ‘car and driver = economy’ analogy with a Hollywood-style, pyrotechnically-charged point about the results of Democratic action on the economy.

“[Y]ou’re going to have a partner in the Republican National Committee in raising the funds necessary. I’m certain that a presidential election helps, but we’re going to have the funds necessary to help [WSRP Chairman Kirby Wilbur] here compete by putting a world-class ground game together here, on voter-to-voter contact, door-to-door campaigning, all the things you need to do,” Priebus said.

But even an avalanche of bought and paid for media time will not be enough to secure Republican gains, according to Priebus.

“It’s not always just about money and buying every ad you can possibly buy on TV. It’s executing on the ground and getting someone over the finish line. That’s what we need to do here in Washington.”


[photo credit: flickr]