The Republican National Committee has hired communications strategist Telly Lovelace to be their National Director of African American Initiatives and Media.
Lovelace will be the in charge of the two positions held by Orlando Watson, the RNC's Director of Black Media who left the RNC on March 4, and Kristal Quarker-Hartsfield, the RNC's Director of African American Outreach, whose last day at the RNC is today, April 1.
Lovelace was previously the Managing Director of IR Media LLC, an African American owned Washington-based communications firm founded by Jarvis Stewart, a former Chief of Staff to former Rep. Harold Ford, Jr.
As they announced the news of Lovelace's hiring, the RNC also stated its plans to launch a new diversity initiative with "the goal of expanding and investing in a new generation of Black, conservative Republicans."
“Engaging with Black voters and all diverse communities across the country is a top priority for the RNC,” said RNC Chairman Reince Priebus in a statement. “Telly is a welcome addition to our team, and I’m confident his experience will help us build on our commitment to cultivate relationships and trust with Black media and Black communities.”
"There are now no Blacks in any high position in the building," a Republican insider told NBCBLK this week after the news of Quarker-Hartsfield's impending departure became public.
Quarker-Hartsfield will be serving Maryland Governor Larry Hogan as his Director of Intergovernmental Affairs. In a statement obtained by NBCBLK, Quarker-Hartsfield was positive about her experience with the RNC, stating, "It has been exciting to have a front row seat to a national Republican movement to maintain the House and win back the Senate. Chairman Priebus is an innovative leader who empowers his team, and serves my Party as a humble servant leader."
With the addition of Lovelace, who will undertake two key roles at the RNC, there may be a more focused strategy for the RNC.
But the true source of difficulty for the RNC and its staff is attracting Black voters during the rising candidacy of media mogul Donald Trump. A Washington Post-ABC News poll of 1,000 people released on march 31 showed that Trump's unfavorables for Blacks and Hispanics are over 80 percent.
The RNC is finding their efforts around minority outreach greatly undermined by incidents of violence at Trump rallies and the candidates anti-immigration reform views. Trump met with Priebus yesterday at RNC headquarters in Washington, DC. Whether issues around his low approvals for minority groups was discussed is unknown.