National GOP needs to rebrand, McKenna says

YAKIMA — Attorney General Rob McKenna plans to join a private law firm after he leaves office in January and says it’s too early to say whether he might make another run for governor.

McKenna told the Yakima Herald-Republic editorial board on Wednesday that he plans to remain engaged in politics. He said the national Republican party has to change in order to remain relevant — such as rebranding to appeal to more minorities, women and young voters — and needs to replicate the data work done by President Barack Obama’s campaign in order to identify and mobilize voters.

“The Republican Party better figure out how to be consistently competitive,” he said. McKenna said he plans to volunteer for a GOP presidential candidate who is willing to lead the rebranding, mentioning potential hopefuls like New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio.

McKenna got more than 48 percent of the vote in last month’s election but lost to Democratic candidate Jay Inslee. He far outperformed Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney in the state, and Democrats had frequently worked to link McKenna to the ideas espoused by the GOP nationally.

As McKenna departs his job as attorney general next month, turning duties over to Democrat Bob Ferguson, Washington state will have just one statewide elected Republican — incoming Secretary of State Kim Wyman. Republican’s haven’t won the governor’s race in three decades.

McKenna said it’s too early to assess whether he might run for governor again.

“I want to take a break from public service,” he said.

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