Politico surveyed the 168 members of the RNC over the last week, and found 88 of them who said they would not vote to re-elect Michael Steele.
For those of you who are a little slow at math this morning, that would be a majority.
I say: goodbye and good riddance.
Hotline has the latest public endorsement counts:
1. Priebus – 30
2. Steele – 15
3. Wagner – 12
4. Anuzis – 10
5. Cino – 6
As long as it’s not Steele or Anuzis, I’ll be satisfied. The vote, again, will take place on Friday, January 14th.
Former Republican National Committee political director Gentry Collins will end his bid to become the next chairman of the party, he said late Sunday night.
Collins, who resigned from his position in November with a letter offering a scathing commentary on incumbent chairman Michael Steele’s leadership, said he has entered the race to provide an alternative to Steele’s leadership. But the entry of other qualified candidates helped Collins toward an exit.
Collins’ candidacy itself was seen as a powerful indictment of Steele’s tenure as RNC chairman. In a letter to the RNC’s executive committee announcing his resignation November 16, Collins said a better-funded RNC would have been able to deliver Republican wins in two additional Senate seats, two more governorships and nearly two dozen House seats that Democrats ended up winning in the midterms.
That memo, Collins said, was “a game-changer for Chairman Steele’s re-election prospects.”
It was increasingly likely that Collins wasn’t going to make the ballot anyway (lacking the six RNC member endorsements necessary to compete), but his dropping out just before the candidate debate was surprising. He only had three public endorsements – not enough to be a game changer, but it will be interesting to see who they go to.
This departure leaves Reince Priebus, Saul Anuzis, Ann Wagner, and Maria Cino to challenge Michael Steele for his job.
Pro-Life political action group, the Susan B. Anthony List, has announced that they will be hosting a debate of the top contenders in the RNC Chair race on January 3rd, 2011. According to the SBL press release, the purpose of the debate is to ensure that, “…the next RNC chairman not only be pro-life, but be prepared to use his or her position to advance pro-life values.”
In preparation for the debate, all four participants have agreed to a pre-debate interview with SBL leadership. In addition to delving into an issue of critical importance to the conservative grassroots, the interviews are a good introduction to those who may not be familiar with the candidates. The four contenders who were selected to participate are Reince Priebus, Ann Wager, Gentry Collins, and Saul Anuzis. Their pre-debate interviews can be viewed below:
The race for RNC Chairman is slowly becoming more clear – and so with the vote less than three weeks away, here are some ground rules for the election and where the race currently stands.
The RNC Chairman is elected by the 168 members of the RNC at the RNC Winter Meeting. In 2011, the vote will take place on January 15. A simple majority — 85 votes — is needed to win the election. The vote takes place in multiple ballot style until one candidate breaks the 85 vote threshold.
To qualify for the ballot, a candidate has to receive official endorsements of at least two RNC members from three different states (for a total of six endorsements). This rule actually kept one of the candidates, Chip Saltsman, off the ballot in 2009.
There are no rules that force any candidate to drop out of the race after the ballots have been tallied, but most drop out willingly when they recognize they have no chance of winning. Thus, while the horserace tallies prior to the first ballot are fun to watch, the real importance lies in divining where the second-tier candidates’ support will fall once they drop out of the race.
There are currently six officially announced candidates (though one, and perhaps two, appear to be fighting to even make it onto the ballot). Their names, and the tally of their publicly announced RNC member endorsements, are as follows:
Reince Priebus (Wisconsin GOP Party Chairman) – 24 endorsements
Michael Steele (Current RNC Chair) – 13
Saul Anuzis (former Michigan GOP Party Chairman) – 11
Ann Wagner (former ambassador to Luxembourg, chairwoman of Roy Blunt’s 2010 campaign) – 11
Maria Cino (former Acting Secretary of Transportation) – 6
Gentry Collins (former RNC Political Director) – 3
Obviously, even though Priebus has a large lead at this stage in the game, he is well shy of the 85 votes needed for a majority. There remain 100 members of the RNC that have yet to publicly declare their endorsements. In 2009, we saw an onslaught of endorsements the week leading up to the actual vote – so this race, while having a clear frontrunner, also remains potentially very fluid.
It is worth mentioning as well the role the RNC Chairman plays in the party. Up until 2007, the Chairman was supposed to essentially perform two duties: fundraising and organization. They were largely behind-the-scenes workers who didn’t get a lot of face time in the press. This began to change slightly with Howard Dean’s very public ascension to DNC Chair, but really shifted in 2007 with Steele’s election to head the RNC. There may be no return to the “good old days” of behind-the-scenes party chairs now, but in this humble blogger’s estimation the closer we can get to that ideal the better. Let the politicians be the face and mouthpiece of the party, and let the party chair bring in the money and build the infrastructure.
One final note: mark January 3 on your calendars, as Americans for Tax Reform will host a debate for the six declared candidates.
The race for RNC Chair gets more crowded by the day, but the pool of candidates still seems to lack that special someone who really embodies the Tea Party spirit, while at the same time knows his or her way around the political establishment, and who has successful electoral experience.
I suggest drafting Barry Goldwater, Jr. to run for Chairman of the Republican National Committee.
1. Goldwater has run seven successful campaigns.
After working on his father’s presidential campaign, Barry Goldwater, Jr. went on to run successfully for Congress seven times, serving for fourteen consecutive years. Goldwater has learned from the mistakes of lost campaigns, and he knows what it takes to win. Furthermore, he won his House races as a conservative Republican in the state of California. Granted, it was during a time when CA was more purple than the deep blue it is today, but it was certainly no Idaho.
Moreover, he’s not just a political strategist who’s spent so long inside political campaigns that he’s lost touch with average Americans. He’s been a business executive, a stockbroker, a philanthropist, and an academic. During the worst economic environment since the Great Depression, we will need a Party that can assure struggling Americans that we know what it takes to create jobs.
2. Goldwater can represent the Tea Party voice.
Love or hate the Tea Party, it has become an integral segment of the conservative movement. Some might even say it is the conservative movement. While many GOPers are disappointed with some of their picks (Angle, Buck, O’Donnell), it has to be said that Tea Party energy and fundraising played a huge role in giving us some really great wins (Brown, Paul, Toomey, Rubio, Haley, Kasich).
If we want to keep Tea Party energy working primarily to elect Republican candidates (as opposed to third party candidates), then we need an RNC Chair who can really claim to be a voice for the movement. Who better than someone who actually is a Tea Partier? Goldwater has been a consistent voice for free markets and individual liberty, having earned the American Conservative Union’s “Conscience of the Congress” Award. Even based on his name alone, Tea Partiers know he is someone who can be trusted.
3. Goldwater knows how to navigate the establishment.
As someone who supported both John McCain and Ron Paul for President in 2008, Goldwater is respected by all flanks of the GOP, from the most mainstream center-right, to the most hardcore libertarians. The real task for the next RNC Chair will not be to ensure that Republicans have a favorable year in 2012. That is pretty much already guaranteed. All the RNC Chair in 2012 needs to do is stay out of the way and let the second wave happen.
What the next RNC Chair will need to do is successfully unite the libertarian/Tea Party faction with the centrist/establishment faction and get them working together on the important issues. He or she will need the respect of, and working relationships with, both the Ron Pauls and the John McCains of the Party to make that happen.
Having played an integral role in two of the most seminal national campaigns of the modern era (Goldwater and Reagan), and having spent two decades inside the Beltway, Goldwater has the connections and knowledge to successfully guide the Republican Party into 2012 and beyond.
If you too would like another option in the race for RNC Chairman, please join me in calling upon Barry Goldwater, Jr. to throw his hat into the ring.
It seems everyone and their brother wants to take on Michael Steele for the job of RNC Chair. By my count, there are now 4 announced candidates for the job: Saul Anuzis of Michigan, Ann Wagner of Missouri, Mike Duncan of Kentucky, and the newest person to join the chase Reince Priebus of Wisconsin. Priebus made his announcement today.
So, now there are 4 candidates for the job of RNC Chair. This shows, I believe, the great dissatisfaction with the tenure of Michael Steele. Priebus’s decision in fact, is a blow to Steele. Priebus was one of Steele’s main backers during the last RNC Chair race and a member of Steele’s “kitchen cabinet”. The fact that he is challenging Steele is an indication about how bad Steele truly is as Chairman.
Simply put, Michael Steele needs to go. He simply is not up to the job of being RNC Chair and it showed in the 2010 election. The RNC did not raise enough money, it encountered a lot of bad press, and the vaunted 72-hr GOTV program did not operate. It’s impossible to say, but we might be looking at Governor-elect Brady or Senator-elect Rossi or Senator-elect Buck if there had been an RNC that could aid these candidates.
What else is interesting to me is where these potential Chairs are coming from. Depending on how you classify Mike Duncan’s Kentucky, and Michael Steele’s Maryland, all the announced or soon-to-be announced candidates (including Marie Cino of NY and Chris Healey of CT) come from outside of the South. Three of them are in fact from the Midwest. It seems to me that the RNC Race for Chair is showing that the GOP is trying to consolidate our gains in the Midwest that we made in 2010. In 2012, places like OH, MI, WI, IA, MO and MN are going to be battlegrounds and possibly where the election will be decided. The RNC, and the Republican Party in general, need to focus like a laser on the Midwest and build the organization we need to win the Midwest and the Presidency in 2012.
The race for RNC Chair is very fluid right now, with more candidates probably jumping in soon and Steele’s decision yet to be disclosed. What is clear though is that there will a wide variety of candidates and visions for the RNC that the 168 members of the Committee will have to sort through and decide upon when they vote in January.
(Hat Tip: Hot Air.)
It’s too soon to say for sure, whether this is for real, but this is Steele at his best. He sounds a like a party chairman for the first time.
At this point, I’m not too keen on the idea of a Steele resignation. He wasn’t my candidate for chairman, but he is the party’s chairman.
As an aside, yesterday, I received my first fundraising letter of the Steele era. And I have to say that I liked it far better than the Mike Duncan letters. Duncan would always try to make me feel guilty for not giving more. Steele is being positive and complimentary. Yes, he’ll get some dough from me. Not much, but more than Duncan ever did.
As a followup to my earlier post, the state GOP Chairs are now considering a new rule limiting the RNC Chair’s ability to spend whatever he/she wants – specifically, to set the salaries for the staff members of the RNC. They’re considering having a comptroller-treasurer assist in those funding areas.
Sounds like a good way to add a level of transparency and accountability, right?
Not for Michael Steele. He is showing an untold depth of immaturity with his reaction to this latest brouhaha:
Steele Threatens to Quit if RNC Undermines Funding Authority
“They can contemplate all they want to, but the reality is if they want a figurehead chairman you can have a figurehead chairman, but it won’t be Michael Steele,” he said.
Wow. I haven’t seen this level of “leadership” since junior high.
May I be one of the first in line to say: Michael, please take your ball and go home.
Michale Steele is prepared to tell a meeting of state GOP chairmen today that the GOP has “turned the corner” and the Republican comeback “is well under way” in all the states across the country, just not at a federal level yet.
On top of this being nothing but wishful thinking (especially after losing the only election he has been in charge of winning), his attempt at casting his own leadership in a positive light will likely get lost in the noise of yet another gaffe/scandal at his own hands:
When Michael S. Steele took over as chairman of the Republican National Committee earlier this year, he brought along longtime personal assistant Belinda Cook and gave her a salary nearly three times what her predecessor made.
Mrs. Cook’s son, Lee, also landed an RNC job.
Mr. Steele hired another family friend, Angela Sailor, to be the party’s outreach director at a salary of $180,000, more than double her predecessor’s compensation…
The state GOP chairs are not taking this news lightly, as these comments from the chairman of the Hawaii GOP show:
“These salaries we hear about are way out of line for what staff should be paid for working for a political party, which most of us think of as a cause,” said Hawaii Republican Party Chairman Willis Lee. “And if certain staff at the national committee are making that much, then the public understandably might think they are examples of cronyism.”
Oh, yes. Just the makeover and rebranding that party needs right now: a revived perception of cronyism and inept leadership.
It’s time for the RNC to say thanks but no thanks to Mr. Steele and his idea of “leadership” before the 2010 midterms become a complete disaster.
Michael Steele can breathe a sigh of relief:
In its first full month under the chairmanship of Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine, the Democratic National Committee only raised $3.26 million in February, according to figures released by the committee this afternoon.
The total lags behind the February fundraising total at the Republican National Committee, which raised $5.1 million during the month. RNC chairman Michael Steele, who faced a tumultuous first month as chairman, will get to claim an early fundraising victory over his Democratic counterpart.
The DNC now has $8.6 million in its campaign coffers, and holds $6.9 million in debt. The RNC has over $24 million cash-on-hand.