The Republican National Committee (RNC) previously planned to slash its budget for engaging minority voters in battleground states. But after that plan caused an uproar from GOP activists, former President Donald Trump’s new RNC leadership did a full one-eighty.

Because the 2024 election will be decided in states with large concentrations of Black and Hispanic voters — like Arizona and Georgia — the RNC originally planned to open community centers in those states aimed at engaging with voters of color. These centers would focus on increasing early vote turnout, conducting vote-by-mail educational sessions and giving the RNC an opportunity to cut into the leads Democrats traditionally have with minority demographics. Axios recently reported that when the RNC announced that it would no longer be funding that effort, many members loudly condemned the decision.

“The Trump campaign should keep in mind, this ain’t just about the White House. It’s bigger than that, bigger than one candidate,” an unnamed RNC member told Axios.

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New RNC chairman Michael Whatley — who was elected to his role earlier this month along with co-chair Lara Trump (the spouse of the former president’s son, Eric) — reportedly reversed course on the proposed cuts after a discussion with Trump senior adviser Chris LaCivita.

“”It looks like the RNC is making an adjustment,” RNC member Shawn Steel told Axios. “I hope they will expand the community centers.”

“There are probably 1,000,000 Asian American votes in the five battleground states,” he added. “Community engagement would be fantastically effective. That would include of course legions of African American males and Latinos in general.”

The RNC has had to keep a close eye on its budget as Republicans are at a significant financial advantage compared to their Democratic counterparts. Ballotpedia notes that as of January 31, the Democratic National Committee (DNC) had more than $24 million in cash on hand out of over $137 million raised, while the RNC had less than $9 million in cash currently available while raising $98.7 million. And given their presumptive nominee’s sky-high legal bills, the GOP will need to juice its fundraising in order to stay competitive in several contentious down-ballot races.

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Outside of the presidential election, the GOP also hopes to recapture the majority in the US Senate, where it needs a net gain of two seats to retake the upper chamber of Congress. However, the road to the majority goes through Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and Jon Tester (D-Montana), both of whom are popular, well-known incumbents running for another six-year term in reliably red states. Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Rick Scott (R-Florida) are also going to need financial assistance from their party in order to win their own expensive statewide reelection races.

If the RNC hopes to maintain its paper-thin majority in the House of Representatives, it will also need to bring in significant amounts of campaign cash. The National Republican Campaign Committee (NRCC) has raised $100 million in the 2023-2024 campaign cycle as of January 31, but the Democratic National Campaign Committee (DCCC) has out-raised the GOP by more than $30 million.

Lara Trump previously stated that she “absolutely” believes the RNC could help pay down Trump’s legal bills, despite the ex-president owing more than half a billion dollars in civil judgments and having to fund a criminal defense in three separate jurisdictions this year. In 2023 alone, Trump’s allied PACs spent more than $55 million paying his lawyers.

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