Connecticut GOP Chairman Chris Healy told FrumForum in an interview that he hopes to announce a bid for RNC Chairman this week.
RNC Chair candidates will be gathering in Washington, D.C. for a debate this Wednesday. Asked if he was going to be a speaker at this forum, Healy said, “I am right now.” An organizer for the event confirmed that Healy is expected to speak at the RNC Chair debate, organized by the RNC’s conservative caucus and moderated by FreedomWorks’ National Political Director Russ Walker.
But Healy emphasized that he wasn’t formally announcing just yet. “I’m trying to get as much comment, insight from members as I can. If there’s any support for what I’m talking about… I hope to [announce] by the end of the week… with a focus on creating the resources that are needed for 2012, and supporting efforts on redistricting,” he said.
Chairman Chris Healy has a history as a political operative, and serves currently as the full-time chairman of the Connecticut Republican Party. He served as a communications director in Congress, as well as a special assistant at the Department of Housing and Urban Development, before returning to Connecticut to work on campaigns and public relations.
Healy says that his tenure as state chairman has given him the necessary skills to be RNC Chair. “You need professional skills that relate to fundraising: I’m in what we call a ‘hard-dollar’ state, which requires a lot of asking and soliciting and creating confidence in donors… I have a pretty ridiculous work ethic when it comes to that.”
One of the criticisms that will be lobbed his way should he decide to run will be the poor performance of Connecticut Republicans in the last election. Republicans were unsuccessful in every congressional district, as well as in the gubernatorial and senatorial elections. “It’s a fair point, I think it’s a point I would probably raise, that’s a point that I’ll ultimately talk about,” said Healy.
In his defense, Healy says that the state party he ran did everything it could to make Connecticut more Republican, and that their actions ultimately made races in other states more competitive:
People don’t vote for the [state] party, they vote for the candidate. The test is whether the party has done everything they can to create opportunities for those candidates, and sustain and support those candidates on every level of their campaign. We did that in Connecticut – in fact I like to think we actually made Connecticut more competitive… the Democratic National Committee spent almost a month holding on desperately for Connecticut, with implications for races nationally.
Even as he declined to formally announce a bid for RNC Chairman, Healy was critical of incumbent RNC Chair Michael Steele’s tenure while expressing modest support for potential competitor Gentry Collins:
We need someone who has been a full-time, operative-type chairman, someone who can assess the damage that [incumbent chairman] Mike Steele has done to the party, but more importantly get things turned around on a dime. Whether that’s me, or someone else like Gentry Collins, that’s something we really need in the next chairman.
Healy also had nice things to say about other potential candidates. “I’ve been on this committee now for about four years, and I’ve gotten to know a lot of good people, and a lot of them are running. I don’t see this as a competition as much as it is trying to create a consensus that the next chair should… have a real plan to get the machinery moving very quickly because we’re running against a very skillful president,” Healy told FrumForum.
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