WASHINGTON, D.C., January 6, 2014 (LifeSiteNews.com) – In a move that boosts social conservatives in an election year, the Chairman of the Republican National Committee (RNC) has announced that he is delaying the RNC's annual winter meeting so he and others can attend the March for Life.
The Washington Times reports that approximately 20 of the 168 members of the RNC were planning to attend the March before Preibus' announcement. With Preibus' backing, the RNC is now renting buses to take attendees from downtown D.C. to the March, which takes place on Capitol Hill.
“I saw that there was a real interest among a significant portion of our members to attend and support the Rally for Life,” Priebus said in an email to The Times. “This is a core principle of our party. It was natural for me to support our members and our principles.”
The Republican Party has faced infighting between fiscal and social conservatives for several years. But despite this, according to RNC Deputy Press Secretary Raffi Williams, observers should not be surprised by the Chairman's decision. “The Republican Party will always be home for Americans who believe in social conservative issues,” he told LifeSiteNews.com in an e-mail.
This is the first time in years that the RNC has had its winter meeting in D.C. The meeting will now be delayed by a few hours on the first day. Williams said that “[the RNC] thought it only fitting for our members to attend the March to take part in the fight for the unborn.” The meeting will last four days.
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The Times cited several members of the RNC who were influential in Preibus’s decision. Missouri GOP Chairman Ed Martin said that “[w]hen Reince got wind of what members were planning on their own, he emailed that he would shift our RNC schedule so we could attend…” Oklahoma member Carolyn McLarty said the change has its origins in an e-mail RNC member Kathy Hayden of Virginia sent to attendees about the March “about a week ago.” “Things have snowballed from there,” she said.
In a public statement, March for Life President Jeanne Monahan said her organization was “pleased that…Chairman Reince Priebus recognizes the importance of the life issue and has given it priority in the Committee's calendar.” She encouraged attendees “to show their support for life, and in particular for adoption, the theme of this year's event.”
The March for Life has taken place for 40 years, typically on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade. Hundreds of thousands usually participate in the annual event.