Surprising the media that had been persistently reporting that he had decided against running (perhaps because, as Neal Cavuto says, no one in his party likes him), Michael Steele announced on Monday that he was planning on running for a second
Surprising the media that had been persistently reporting that he had decided against running (perhaps because, as Neal Cavuto says, no one in his party likes him), Michael Steele announced on Monday that he was planning on running for a second term as RNC Chair.
Michael Steele said Monday night that he would fight to remain chairman of the Republican National Committee next year, ignoring calls from some in the party for a new leader to help unseat President Barack Obama in 2012.
Mr. Steele notified fellow RNC members during a conference call that he will seek a second two-year term in the Jan. 20 election, participants said. The announcement ends weeks of speculation in which the 52-year-old former lieutenant governor of Maryland kept an unusually low profile.[..]
His decision could spark a contentious fight to lead the committee as the party gears up for the next presidential primary season and its effort to defeat Mr. Obama. Four candidates have already announced their intention to replace Mr. Steele, and others could enter the race.[..]
The announced candidates are Saul Anuzis, a former Michigan Republican Party chairman; Maria Cino, a veteran of the Bush administration, who claims the backing of former Vice President Dick Cheney and former RNC Chairman Ed Gillespie; Reince Priebus, chairman of the Wisconsin GOP; and Ann Wagner, a former U.S. ambassador to Luxembourg.
As chairman, Mr. Steele presided over the biggest Republican gains in decades. The party netted 63 House seats in last month's midterm elections, regaining the majority, and gained seven Senate seats, including one in January.
Despite those gains, critics complained that Mr. Steele spent lavishly, neglected the party's biggest donors and failed to prove he can raise the money necessary to deny Mr. Obama a second term. The RNC raised $192 million during his tenure as chairman and spent $206 million, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. That left the committee with more than $15 million in debt, according to its latest filing with the Federal Election Commission.
On Monday, Mr. Steele promised to "streamline the RNC" and told members that the committee had already begun implementing a new accounting system to track fundraising and spending. He trumpeted the committee's expanded base of small-dollar donors and, in a direct nod to his critics, acknowledged that "a significant number" of major donors "have migrated to other organizations led by former RNC chairmen…that are not bound by the same laws as the RNC."
I think I can speak for comedians and liberals when I say, "Go Steele!"
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