Five challengers have lined up to topple Michael Steele from his chairmanship post at the RNC.
Most of us are unacquainted with these people who will have an enormous impact on the next election. The Daily Caller website has linked with Americans for Tax Reform to hold a debate January 3 among the six. It will be livestreamed at the Daily Caller and Republicans can submit questions in advance.
In case you have forgotten why Michael Steele doesn’t garner acclaim, even though the GOP triumphed in 2010, Politico has assembled a few of his many gaffes. These “Steelisms” include his announcement in January of this year that “the GOP won’t win the House.” Nothing like a positive attitude, hmm? How about his declaration that the “war in Afghanistan isn’t worth fighting” which he announced this summer. Steele bristled when a reporter called Rush Limbaugh the de facto head of the GOP. Steele called Rush “an entertainer” and his show “incendiary” and “ugly.” Rush did not return the jibes; he considers Steele a friend. In November 2009 Steele went on to say that “White GOPers were scared in the 2008 election.” And these are just a few.
So who are the people offering to take his place?
Saul Anuzis was the first to declare. He is a former Michigan GOP chair. He works with Newt Gingrich on his American Solutions, so gets the former speaker’s backing. Anuzis notes “we lost some heartbreaking statewide races in Illinois, Colorado, West Virginia, Washington and Nevada this year. Without a fully funded victory program we will be overwhelmed by the efforts of the unions, the Obama campaign and all their allies,” he says.
Maria Cino, a native of Buffalo, New York, most recently lobbied for drug company Pfizer. Before that she organized the 2008 GOP convention and had been appointed deputy secretary of transportation by George W. Bush. She’s a friend of Bushies like Dana Perino and Mary Matalin, who held a fund raiser at her house for her. Twice as many people showed up as expected and the take shattered their fund raising expectations. Cino wins the support of GWB, Dick Cheney and Ed Gillespie.
Another woman, Ann Wagner, has tossed her hat in the ring. The Missourian was chairman of Roy Blunt’s successful senatorial campaign, which Politico called among the ten best in 2010. Before that she was appointed by President Bush ambassador to Luxembourg. Wagner has called for more aggressive fund raising, better management, reinvigorated political operations and new communications intiatives. Our Tennessee RNC chair, Chris Devaney, has thrown his support to her.
Reince Priebus – it’s a he and he’s 36 – was the top legal counsel at the RNC. He helped Steele get elected two years ago and was the chairman of the Wisconsin GOP. Wisconsin was a bright spot for us, garnering a Republican governor and senator in that often blue state. Priebus wants “less drama, more hard work, more results and more focus on winning” in the next RNC Chairman. One problem to overcome is his slip up during an interview calling for Obama to be executed three times in a discussion about Osama Bin Laden. The left would never let this be forgotten.
Gentry Collins, again, a guy, just announced his candidacy Dec. 13. He’s an Iowa Republican and was a regional campaign manager for McCain in 2008. Collins, a former aide to Steele sent a scathing resignation letter to Steele in which he cited “the major donor base withers”; that Steele “spent too much on fundraising rather than winning elections and squandered opportunities to help Republican candidate in key races in 2010.”
Norm Coleman, the former senator from Minnesota, was considered one of the challengers, but told the Daily Caller he won’t run against Steele.