Michigan’s GOP establishment appears to be coalescing behind National Committeeman Saul Anuzis’ bid for the RNC chairmanship, despite the traditional infighting that has dogged the state’s Republican politics.
Perhaps the most striking sign of this is what looks to be Michigan political strategist John Yob’s decision to send signals indicating support for Anuzis’ bid to head the Republican National Committee. Yob and Anuzis had been political foes in what had been a frequent faceoff in the state between Grand Rapids Republicans and Oakland County Republicans.
UPDATE: Wednesday morning, John Yob officially endorsed Saul Anuzis for RNC Chair (see below)
Yob’s father, himself a former Michigan National Committeeman, had not supported the reelection of Anuzis for Michigan state party chairman a couple years back, and during the last RNC chair race in 2008, Anuzis had attempted to discredit an attack by saying “the Yobs have spent a great deal of time attacking me in the last several years.”
The elder Yob had said previously that Anuzis was “part of the regime that had run almost every unsuccessful campaign in recent memory…They still haven’t won to this day and our party continues to suffer for it.” In May of this year, Anuzis shot back by calling John Yob and his father a “minus” to the state Republican Party.
But on Saturday, it was reported that Yob had written on Facebook that people should not “assume anything about this race, and please ‘stand down’”. Yob had also quoted governor-elect Rick Synder, saying that “there is only one label that matters, and that is Michigander.” The Grand Rapids Press called the move “an olive branch” extended from Yob to Anuzis. Later on Twitter, Yob seemed to endorse this interpretation, linking to the piece and calling it “a great article”.
“We’ve talked, I’ve asked him for his support,” Saul Anuzis acknowledged to FrumForum. “I hope to talk some more and hopefully get him on my side.” John Yob has not yet responded to a FrumForum request for comment, but his staff indicated that he was currently travelling.
Other members of the Michigan Republican Party had less cryptic shows of support for Saul Anuzis.
“We do have our family fights, yeah,” Michigan GOP Coalitions Vice-Chair Scott Greenlee told FF by phone. But apparently Anuzis’ bid for the Republican National Committee Chairmanship is not shaping up to be one of them.
“I’m supporting Saul to be RNC chairman,” Greenlee continued. “Firstly, he’s a Michigander. He also brings to the table a real talent for grassroots organization, and he’s a technology expert.”
Hank Fuhs, the Secretary of the Michigan GOP, agreed and said that he would also be supporting Anuzis. “I will support Saul,” he said. “As chairman, no one will work harder.
Michael Steele is a great guy, but honestly Saul is the best person for 2012… for the future, you want a grassroots person. Saul is the best, period.”
Of course, the support is not entirely unanimous. Holly Hughes, the National Committeewoman for Michigan, had earlier told FrumForum that she would continue to back incumbent Chairman Michael Steele. “He’s been one of the most successful RNC chairmen in history,” she had told FrumForum earlier. “I don’t think it’s time to back another horse.”
Wednesday morning, John Yob officially endorsed Saul Anuzis for RNC Chair:
I have worked in the trenches both with and against Saul Anuzis over the past decade in Michigan and across the country. As many people know, we had our fair share of differences over that time period. There were essentially two sides to the Michigan Republican Party in Michigan. I was a very active participant for one coalition and Saul was a very active participant of the other coalition. It divided our party and wasn’t helpful to the cause…
We are both conservatives who work very hard in the trenches to elect solid leaders. Already other national conservative leaders like Morton Blackwell have begun lining up behind Saul’s candidacy…
So today I am asking friends in Michigan and across the country to join me in supporting Saul Anuzis for Chairman of the Republican National Committee.”
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