Anuzis: I Can Beat Steele

November 12th, 2010 at 7:02 pm | 15 Comments |

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Michigan National Committeeman Saul Anuzis jumped into the RNC Chairman race this morning, becoming the first individual to challenge incumbent Michael Steele. But his close relationship with Newt Gingrich and a lack of support amongst Michigan RNC members may provide challenges to his candidacy.

Anuzis disputed these contentions in an interview with FrumForum, saying that his record as a Michigan state chair showed his ability to act impartially, and that he would be elected with help from 168 members from across the country, not the Michigan RNC members.

While the last cycle called for a chairman who could be a spokesperson, the election of a Republican speaker would mean that “we would be better served having a nuts and bolts chairman,” Anuzis told FrumForum. “[We need to] get back to fundamentals, make sure the trains run on time, raise the money and have the best get out the vote effort we can possibly have.”


2012 Presidential Race: Too Newt-Friendly?

With this chairman’s race deciding the face of the RNC going into the 2012 presidential election cycle, members will be closely considering the presidential preferences of each of the candidates. Anuzis is particularly close with Newt Gingrich and his organization, American Solutions. In March 2009, Anuzis was employed by American Solutions to lead a new media campaign against the Employee Free Choice Act. On his twitter page, he describes himself as a “Newt fan”.

“I am committed to being a hundred percent neutral, and my record in 2008 clearly showed my willingness and ability to run a party during a presidential process in an open and fair manner,” Saul Anuzis told FF. Anuzis had been the Michigan state chair at the time, and coordinated a presidential debate and a conference where eight of the nine candidates attended.

“If you’re in this process, you’re going to have political friends, but you have to be an honest broker as chairman, and that would be my goal,” he said.


Support from the Michigan GOP?

One possible line of attack for Anuzis opponents will be to ask why he doesn’t have much support from his state’s two other RNC members: state chairman Ron Weiser and National Committeewoman Holly Hughes. Saul Anuzis was formerly the chairman of the Michigan state party – a fractious body in a notoriously fractious state for Republicans.

The Michigan Republican Party is divided between two factions: whether one is from Oakland County – the more affluent Detroit suburbs – or from Grand Rapids. Grand Rapids Republicans have traditionally dominated the state GOP, and do so now – with the exception of Saul Anuzis’ two terms as chairman.

Michigan National Committeewoman Holly Hughes told FrumForum that she would not be backing Saul Anuzis, and that she was committed to Michael Steele. “Why wouldn’t I [be]? He’s been one of the most successful RNC chairmen in history. Look at the New Jersey and Virginia governor’s races, and the historical gains in the House… I don’t think it’s time to back another horse,” she said, saying that she was sure Steele would run for reelection.

“There are 168 members on the committee, and I need to get a majority. Different people have different reasons for supporting candidates… I was elected twice unanimously for state chairman… and consistently received two-thirds of the votes on state committee votes. I think it is fairly clear that I have a broad base of support amongst Republicans here in Michigan. I was just elected National Committeeman on almost a three-to-one margin, so I think that that’s reflective of what my support is,” said Anuzis.

Ron Weiser, the chairman of the Michigan state party, is on holiday and was unavailable to comment.


Flashback: The 2009 RNC Chairman Campaign

Of course, Anuzis will have experience on his side in this election. In 2009, he ran for RNC chairman as a candidate with a “clear conservative vision”, according to one of his campaign videos:

He ultimately finished in third place, increasing his vote count through the first four ballots before a collapse in votes in the fifth ballot led to his withdrawal. Michael Steele went on to defeat former South Carolina state chair Katon Dawson on the sixth ballot.

Source: Weekly Standard

This shows us the baseline of where Anuzis starts out in this campaign: likely with about twenty votes that he can count on as a base of support. If he wants to get to 85 votes – the required number for a majority – he’ll need to broaden his appeal.


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15 Comments so far ↓

  • wfisher

    Thank God for Saul Anuzis valiant decision. It’s the highest time for a real change in the GOP Leadership. God speed.

  • Watusie

    “Anuzis is particularly close with Newt Gingrich and his organization, American Solutions.”

    Ummm…I believe the correct wording would be Anuzis is totally dependent upon Gingrich and his various front operations for his livelihood.

    I don’t have access to his complete resume, but I’m pretty sure that he was worked on Newt projects exclusively for the past several years.

    The other 2012 candidates are going to be happy to seem him and his staff move into RNC HQ, with Newt on the other end of all their Blackberries 24/7?

    I don’t think so.

  • JimBob

    Saul Anuzis is a clown. Tried to have Ron Paul banned from the debates and kicked out of the Republican Party in 2007. He’s a loser!!

  • wfisher

    Jim, he may be a clown, but is he better than Steele?

  • moderategoper

    Is this the same guy who wanted to “ban” Ron Paul from the Republican debates??

  • CD-Host

    Obviously I don’t get a vote but I can’t support someone who was instrumental in trying to silence Ron Paul. Sue Lowden lost primarily for her unethical behavior regarding Paul supporters. Saul Anuzis was instrumental in Paul being banned from the debate and Ron Paul’s excellent anti war message being lost.

    2011 is going to be a year when the Republican party has a chance to break from being the forever war party with major defense cuts. Anuzis in holding that such cuts are simply beyond the pale cannot be the party chair. He is an enemy of what the Tea Party really stands for.

  • Raskolnik

    Didn’t Steele claim that Obama is to blame for TARP and the war in Afghanistan?

  • moderategoper

    Results under Saul Anuzis:

    - Unable to defeat a single Democratic incumbent in a state or federal election in 2006.
    - Worst performance by a Republican candidate for Governor in 20 years, despite unlimited resources.

    - Lost 6 seats in the Michigan House of Representatives to the Democrats, despite a Republican gerrymandered map.

    - Lost 1 seat in the Michigan Senate to the Democrats despite a Republican gerrymandered map.

    - Fewest Republicans and most Democrats in the Michigan Senate in 15 years.

    - Lost control of Michigan House of Representatives to the Democrats, producing a Democratic Speaker for the first time in 12 years.

    - Mailings to voters in Kent County helped Michigan Democrats send a second state representative to Lansing from Grand Rapids. Apparently Saul is even more effective at turning around Grand Rapids than Dick DeVos!

    - Total Democratic sweep of all elected educational board seats for the first time in 20 years.

    - Lost control of numerous county boards to Democrats.

    - Endorsed Republican incumbent in 7th Congressional District defeated in primary.

    - Urged the Republican National Committee to spend $1 million late on failed Senate campaign of Mike Bouchard rather than devote precious resources to defending Republican incumbents in Montana and Virgina, who in turn lost close races and swung control of the United States Senate to the Democrats!

    http://newmigop.wordpress.com/

  • Xunzi Washington

    Moderate –

    As a Democrat, after reading your post I now fully endorse Anuzis. Is there somewhere I can send my check?

  • wfisher

    Xunzi, I had sent a big check to elect the dems chairman clown. It worked!

  • jakester

    I don’t like him, he has a weasely face

  • busboy33

    “Anuzis: I Can Beat Steele”

    Well, of course you can. A paper bag can beat Steele.

    The question is, since the GOP sufferes from a paralyzing fear of black people, does the party have the brass cajones to do it?

  • jakester

    busboy33
    Maybe the GOP needs to tap Alan Keyes? At least he would keep the psycho-theo-cons happy

  • Stewardship

    Have you read Anuzis announcement? One of his self-proclaimed strengths is “I am a team player.”
    Balderdash. In Michigan, Anuzis ran the show with no input or ideas from anyone else. His method was dictatorial.

  • Lil Mic

    http://heymickeyk.blogspot.com/2010/11/demint-wants-steele-out-as-rnc-chair.html

    DeMint Wants Steele Out As RNC Chair

    ppearing on Fox News Sunday today, an appallingly smug Sen. Jim DeMint was asked if he thinks a second term for RNC chair Michael Steele would be “good or bad for the party.”

    http://heymickeyk.blogspot.com/2010/11/demint-wants-steele-out-as-rnc-chair.html