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Republican National Committee chair speaks to SA audience

Reince Priebus says party looks good in November; Needs to attract Hispanics

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SAN ANTONIO – Republican National Committee Chair Reince Priebus spoke to a gathering of chambers of commerce members at Oak Hills Country Club Friday, and told attendees the Republican party is strong and expects to take control of the U.S. Senate after November's elections.

The Republican party chief quickly took on President Barack Obama, saying the president has promised much but delivered little.

He also took a shot at Democratic candidate for Texas governor, Wendy Davis.

"I think Wendy Davis has run one of the worst campaigns for the entire year," Priebus said.

Priebus also talked about a certain quality needed in the 2016 Republican presidential nominee.

"Having a candidate on the ballot that people like and want to have a beer with," Priebus said.

And he said despite the good forecast there are areas where Republicans need to improve.

"What we're talking about is working like a dog and moving that dial so that instead of getting 27 percent of Hispanics' vote you're getting 35, 37," Priebus said.

He said Republicans should do well in mid-term elections, a thought local leaders echoed as well.

Rep. Joe Strauss is a Republican from San Antonio and is the Texas House Speaker.

"We certainly hope that Republicans will capture the majority of the United States Senate," Strauss said. "It's good to have (Priebus) in Texas, by the way, where the Republican party is feeling pretty good."

However, for Richard Perez, president of the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce, this was not about politics, but business.

"Business is all about growing the economy to allow for opportunities for all and I think he made a case for that's exactly what the party's trying to do," Perez said. "When you have a president and you have a divided Congress it really makes for a difficult situation. One thing that's for sure is there's gridlock in Washington."

Perhaps the most important thing to come out of this visit is more people engaging in the political process.

Many would say that is good for both parties and voters.

The event was sponsored by the North San Antonio Chamber, South San Antonio Chamber, San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and San Antonio Chamber of Commerce. It was moderated by Ross Ramsey, of the Texas Tribune.

The Democratic National Committee Deputy Communications Director, Lily Adams, issued the following response to Priebus' comments:

"We're confident Democrats will hold the Senate and elect new governors like Wendy Davis because the American people and Texans know that it's Democrats who have their backs. While Republicans have shut down the government and obstructed progress, Democrats have pursued commonsense policies that helped get the country to the lowest unemployment rate in six years. In order to achieve critical victories like raising the minimum wage and equal pay for women, we've got to elect more Democrats who are singularly focused on expanding opportunity for Texans and all Americans," said Adams.