Republican National Committee Chairman Richard Richards yesterday said how the party does in this fall's election "will have very little to do with Ronald Reagan or Reaganomics."
Richards, in an appearance at the National Press Club, also scaled down his predictions for GOP prospects in the fall, saying that if the economy doesn't change before November, Republicans "will either win 10 or lose 10" House seats.
Richards, who until recent months had insisted Republicans would win control of the House, said he expects the party to pick up three Senate seats, but do poorly in gubernatorial races, largely because "we've got a lot of fine Republican governors who are not running for reelection."
"I believe our wins or losses will have very little to do with Ronald Reagan or Reaganomics. It will have a lot to do with the quality of our candidates," Richards said, adding that he believes Republicans are fielding a better crop of candidates than the Democrats.
"Sure we have some economic problems," he added. "But nobody blames them on us."
Richards made his comments after a speech explaining what the party is doing to persuade blacks and other minorities to run as Republican candidates.
Four black congressional candidates appeared with him, including Perry Smith, a former Democrat, who is running against Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.).
"I don't think black people have a better friend than they have in Ronald Reagan," Richards said.
His speech came as the Republican National Committee began a three-day meeting in Washington.