EXCLUSIVE: Rep. Byron Donalds Outlines Plan To Transform Republican Messaging

 Florida Rep. Byron Donalds will encourage Republicans to engage with a broader swathe of the American public in new media formats if he is elected conference chairman, he told the Daily Caller in an exclusive interview.

Donalds, a first-term representative and member of the Freedom Caucus, is challenging New York Rep. Elise Stefanik to lead the House Republican Conference’s messaging strategy. Stefanik reportedly told other Republicans that she would only serve out the remainder of the 117th Congress after replacing Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney, but announced in September she would seek a second term in the position. Donalds argues Republicans are limiting themselves in their messaging, most importantly by not engaging with voters who could be open to conservative ideas and the GOP.

“The one thing we don’t really touch in my view is social, digital, internet, memes, internet media, internet responses,” Donalds explained. That cedes the playing field to Democrats, he continued, since most television networks and social media sites are dominated by left-wing content.

“It’s the subtle political narratives that are being pushed by Comedy Central, by Saturday Night Live, that might be over on the HBO shows and shows up on ESPN or Fox Sports. We all know about The View, what happens on The Today Show,” he said. “You want to engage far more across the board than just the Times or the Post or Fox or Newsmax. Not to denounce them, but there’s so many more outlets because of the internet and social media that you know, we really have to dig in and find those opportunities.”

The race for Republican conference chair has flown under the national radar, especially compared to the whip race, which includes National Republican Congressional Committee chairman Tom Emmer of Minnesota, Republican Study Committee chairman Jim Banks of Indiana and Chief Deputy Whip Drew Ferguson of Georgia. Some Republicans, including those close to former President Donald Trump, argue Emmer is not conservative enough to effectively serve the conference.

Stefanik faced similar complaints during her first bid for conference chair, and Texas Rep. Chip Roy challenged her for the position. Trump supported Stefanik’s first bid, and may do so again. A two-term member of the Florida legislature before his 2020 election, Donalds said Republicans’ governing success in the long-purple state can serve as a model nationwide. 

“I want conservative governance to become the state of play in the U.S. We’ve done it in Florida. That’s why we’re the envy of the other 49 states. You know, like even our Democrats don’t wanna leave. They say that they do, but they want to be here too. And so I think that when you look at what consistent conservative governance does for a state, we need to be doing that for the country,” he said.

National Republicans are quick to tout growing support from Hispanic voters. The Republican National Committee opened Hispanic outreach centers in South Texas, where Republican Mayra Flores won a special election for a district that her Democratic predecessor carried by 13 points in 2020. Republicans running in swing states, like Adam Laxalt and Joe O’Dea, are also advertising in Spanish.

An ex-Democrat and one of three black Republicans in Congress, Donalds believes the GOP should conduct similar outreach to African-American voters. While 92% of black voters supported President Joe Biden in 2020, a CNN analysis found roughly 74% of African-Americans expect to vote for Democrats in the midterms.

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