LAS VEGAS, Nevada — Turning Point Action, the activist arm of conservative movement leader Charlie Kirk’s Turning Point USA, is set to descend on Sin City this week with its prequel to the Republican National Committee (RNC) formal GOP winter meetings meant as a “wakeup call” to the GOP establishment entering what many on the right view as the most important presidential election year of their lives.
The hope, activists involved in planning it told Breitbart News, is to turn the GOP’s luck around in 2024, where the biggest rematch perhaps in world political history between likely GOP nominee former President Donald Trump and Democrat President Joe Biden looks like it’s all but set to happen.
Later this week, all the members of the RNC—the 168 party officials from across the nation, state chairs and committeemen and committeewomen from all 50 states and the territories—will gather here to hold their annual RNC winter meetings. But before that happens, Kirk’s crew is crashing the party to deliver a clear message to the 168 and especially to RNC chairwoman Ronna McDaniel: Wake up, the future of the country hangs in the balance here and everything depends on what the party does.
Turning Point Action will convene several of the very same 168 party officials—they’re all invited and many are expected to attend—on Monday and Tuesday at the Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino here on the Las Vegas Strip. (The RNC’s winter meetings are after that later in the week). Joining them will be around 75 of the top county GOP chairs from across America as well as top conservative organizers and movement leaders with an agenda focused on discussing what the Turning Point guys say the RNC is ignoring.
“This is it. This is the wakeup call,” Arizona’s RNC committeeman Tyler Bowyer, who’s also a Turning Point organizer working with Kirk to put on the counter-event, told Breitbart News.
Some topics on the agenda for Turning Point Action’s alternative RNC event, per Bowyer, include “data analysis and priorities of states and counties, a focus on ballot chasing and how that’s different from just trying to get people to vote early, data ID and the new way to win elections and how the left is doing that, poll staffing and observing resources, and strategic coalition building.”
Bowyer also said the Turning Point event will include a focus on “relational versus transactional building,” arguing that “the way that the RNC operates is transactionally but we’re talking about how to build relationships with people so relational organizing.”
Other topics, he said, are “voter registration and ID efforts and talking about ranked-choice voting and the threat of jungle primaries and also voter roll cleanup” and Bowyer added that “we have panels hearing from the biggest organizations on youth vote and targeting moms and talking to moms and how we should be doing that.”
Turning Point Action also will, Bowyer said, aim to expose and understand what the left is doing through things like Arabella and the Democracy Alliance while also training conservatives and GOP officials on how to conduct “strong super Saturdays,” whereby party officials organize a community for a full weekend day to hold “ballot chasing events” in their cities and towns.
The aptly named Restoring National Confidence summit—which obviously shares an RNC acronym with the Republican National Committee—is what Bowyer says will be a way to force discussion of grassroots concerns on party officials.
“Some people are referring to it as the alternate RNC meeting, but effectively we’re just trying to put together a really successful and productive agenda for two days ahead of the RNC meeting doing all of the things we really believe the RNC should be doing,” Bowyer said. “That’s everything from inviting all of the RNC members to this. We flew in 75 of statistically the top most important county chairs in the country—all of the places that matter most in Arizona, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Michigan. We’re flying them in. We’ve invited all the most important outside groups to come in to do strategy sessions, Q&A sessions, listening sessions, breakout groups, panels, and then ultimately a closed roundtable where we can strategize with the most important activists I think in the country.”
Turning Point Action spokesman Andrew Kolvet told Breitbart News that Turning Point emerged as the group to hold this event because of popular demand, and the base is desperate for someone with such “convening power” to step up and provide leadership.
“This is something that’s a very real service to the movement—it’s kind of like, ‘here I am, send me’ because somebody’s got to step up and do this. Tyler and Charlie need another job like they need another hole in their heads,” Kolvet said. “They’re both doing way too much already. So to do this and do it well and assemble this group of party officials and grassroots organizations is nothing short of selflessness. I’m so close to it, but I feel gratitude that they’re choosing to do this because it’s hard work but somebody needs to do it. Tyler and Charlie should not be the ones doing this. But there was such an overwhelming demand for it. How many hundreds of phone calls does Tyler have to take before he’s like ‘okay I guess we have to get the band together? I guess we have to do this thing because everyone’s telling me there’s this huge problem.’ The way we see it is people need this. That piece of this and how organic this came together is really important as people are looking to Tyler and Charlie when they should be looking to the RNC. But that’s not the way this went down and that we had to hold our own separate event to make sure these ideas and these grievances and these frustrations and these needs and these questions are being expressed around people who can actually make a difference is pretty damning to be honest.”
It’s worth noting that several state parties are going through massive turmoil right now in the lead-up to this week including in Bowyer’s state of Arizona.
The Arizona GOP chair, Jeff DeWit, just resigned after the release of a scandalous recording in which he allegedly conveyed an alleged bribe from powerful actors on the East Coast of Kari Lake—the hard-charging grassroots conservative close with Trump—in what was clearly an attempt to get her to not run for U.S. Senate this year. The 10-month-old tape, just released last week, forced DeWit out and led to Arizona Republicans electing a new chair in record time. Trump-backed Gina Swoboda won an election just this weekend to succeed DeWit as chair of the Arizona GOP.
In Michigan, an intra-party rumble has led to a contested battle over who the real chair of the Michigan GOP is right now. Kristina Karamo was technically ousted after conservatives and Trump supporters questioned what she was doing with party resources, and former Rep. Pete Hoeksta (R-MI) has been selected as her replacement. Trump has endorsed Hoeksta’s installation but Karamo is still challenging it and claiming she is still the chair—even though national Republicans just reaffirmed her removal.
Then in Florida now former GOP chair Christian Ziegler was pushed out after salacious allegations against him played out there—with Florida Republicans stripping him of his position and installing a new chair, Evan Power, earlier this month.
Those major shifts are in addition to regularly scheduled intra-party elections for state chairs, committeemen, and committeewomen that will play out across the nation in the coming months. That’s not to mention the fact that at the RNC winter meetings, as the Washington Times’s Kerry Picket reported this past week, the party may even consider opening a line of credit to dig itself out of fundraising shortfalls.
“We are at a really important inflection point I think where the party has to make a decision,” Bowyer told Breitbart News. “The precinct committeemen and local party chairs need to make a decision on who they want to represent them at the RNC. Most of these elections are coming up in the next two to three months where people are going to be voting for people to be going to the RNC to represent them. State chair, committeeman, committeewoman—all those elections are happening over the next few months. So for us it’s we need to give some perspective to the entire movement on what the RNC could be and what the RNC should be. If you do that effectively and communicate that clearly, you might spur a person to run in Alaska against a subpar national committeewoman, or you might spur one of the subpar people to decide ‘you know what, I’m not up to the task of where the party is going.’ What we need in order to beat the left is to build this massive multi-billion dollar infrastructure. Meanwhile, we’re here doing relatively little. What our hope is the outcome here is people embracing—whether they’re good or bad—that we need to make a change for the future that’s going to be positive, but also to be much more aggressive when it comes to building infrastructure and supporting our grassroots.”
Kirk and McDaniel have been sniping at each other for months in public, but that didn’t stop Turning Point from sending her an invitation to their event—complete with a floral arrangement—to try to get her to engage on these issues. Bowyer says McDaniel has not answered the invite, but many of the rest of the 168 RNC members have and several of them will be at Turning Point’s event before they go to the party meetings later in the week.
“First off, we’ve invited everyone from the 168,” Bowyer told Breitbart News. “So there isn’t a single person not invited from the 168. Beyond the 168 is Ronna McDaniel and she’s invited. We sent her flowers. I personally paid for flowers and got a really nice printed invitation delivered to her doorstep. We didn’t use party funds to send flowers to her, I personally paid for the flowers. It wasn’t a massive bouquet, but it was a nice one. Red, white, and blue flowers. It was really nice. This isn’t the first time I’ve sent Ronna flowers either. But again we sent her a physical invite so we made sure she knew she was invited in addition to her email. We haven’t heard back. But look we are excited to host all these members and to your point we’re positioning this right in front of the RNC winter meeting for a reason. We want these members to go back there and say ‘oh my gosh, all these things are happening that we didn’t know about and we didn’t talk about before at the RNC meetings,’ and hopefully that has impact on the strategy as those members congregate for the few times a year that they do. This probably won’t be the last time that we do this. In fact, I hope that in the future coming years here that we’re going to be doing this for most RNC meetings—and maybe for a long time if the RNC can’t get its act together.”
Bowyer hopes that the RNC members will take what they learn at the Turning Point event over to the RNC winter meetings and actually implement it.
“That’s our hope—that we can take something out of this,” Bowyer said. “We incubate ideas and by doing this I think a lot of donors are going to be like: Why isn’t the party doing this? This is the problem for Ronna that I think she just fundamentally doesn’t understand. Donors don’t like talk they like action. The donors in the conservative movement right now are giving heavily to other things outside the RNC because there’s no vision at the RNC. So by doing this, I think what people are going to do is physically show donors ‘hey we did this.’ We’re not trying to punch the RNC in the face. We’re hardly going to talk about Ronna and all the things wrong with the RNC. We’re going to talk about all the things that need to be done that are right. We need to focus on real business here. That to me is what’s most critical about what we’re doing next week. It would be really easy and I could spend two full days going through all the things wrong with the movement and the party. We’re not really doing that. We’re going to spend all the time focused on all the solutions we need to be focused on. What are the things that are going to be productive in this next election cycle? Some of the most important people in this entire Republican Party are these local party chairmen who will be there. Why? They’re the ones we rely on to staff all the polling places for poll workers, poll watching—that’s the starting point for election integrity.”