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GOP Trying To Reach Black Ohio Voters Ahead Of 2016 Presidential Election

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The Republican National Committee is launching a four-week campaign focused on mobilizing African-American voters in advance of the 2016 presidential election. The effort includes faith-based outreach in Columbus. Republican officials say they will replicate it in other states if it's successful. Nick Castele of member station WCPN in Cleveland reports.

Republicans have struggled for decades to win large numbers of black voters, especially in presidential contests. And since losing in 2012, Republicans have been talking more about building a bigger GOP tent for a party whose support is often older and whiter than the nation at large.  
 
The campaign starting this week is called “Committed to Community.” Key to the effort is Radio One — a major national media network geared toward black audiences.  
 
Over the next several weeks, Republican staff will meet voters and hand out information at Radio One events in Ohio. The RNC also plans to reach voters in churches, and through radio and mobile phone ads.  
 
Orlando Watson is the communications director for black media at the RNC.  
 
“Part of what we’ve found over the past couple of years being present in communities like Cleveland and Columbus and Detroit and Charlotte,” Watson said, “is that black voters in particular care about jobs, the economy, education and stronger families.”  
 
On education, he says the party will emphasize its support for offering options outside of traditional public schooling — like charter schools and vouchers for private schools.  
 
He says the campaign aims to build trust with African-American communities — and to build a network of black voters who might cast their ballots for the GOP in 2016.  
 

Jim has been with WCBE since 1996. Before that he worked as a reporter at another Columbus radio station, and for three newspapers in Southwest Florida.
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