Steele Pal: Re-Election Run ‘A Certainty’

December 13th, 2010 at 4:14 pm | 9 Comments |

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FrumForum can confirm that Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele is leaning towards an announcement that he is running for reelection tonight on a conference call with RNC members.

An RNC member close to the Chairman tells FrumForum that it is a certainty.

Over the last few weeks, even close allies to the Chairman were unsure as to whether or not he would run for a second term.

Steele will likely receive strong first ballot support in his bid for the chairmanship. But what remains to be seen is whether he has any growth potential beyond the first ballot. 85 votes are required to win the chairmanship, and in order to win Chairman Steele will need to convince RNC members that he is a viable second choice.

Of course, Steele’s first term has come with its share of difficulties: he called Rush Limbaugh’s show “incendiary” and “ugly”, then apologized for his statements; he was criticized by Bill Kristol and others for calling Afghanistan “a war of Obama’s choosing”; and said in January of this year that he didn’t think Republicans could regain the House.

Although not directly involved, Steele was at the helm when the RNC was found to have spent money on a sex-themed nightclub, which led to the resignation of his chief of staff. Most recently, the Daily Caller published a series of stories revealing that Chairman Steele’s former personal assistant and her family were receiving tens of thousands of dollars to work on the 2012 Republican convention in Tampa.

Despite the negative press, Steele maintains a substantial amount of support on the committee: even those critical of Steele’s tenure as chairman estimate his support in the 45-60 vote range. And those who continue to support Steele argue that the chairman’s actions in the last cycle were crucial to Republican victories in November.

“Chairman Steele will be reelected because of his continued outstanding victories, raising more money than anybody else, and ability to communicate to more communities than any prior chairman,” Shawn Steel, the National Committeeman from California, told FrumForum, pointing out also the important role that the RNC played in the 2009 gubernatorial victories in Virginia and New Jersey.

Idaho GOP chair Norm Semanko, who went to law school with Steele, recently wrote to RNC members in support of Steele: “Now is not the time to trade-in proven electoral success for unproven hope. Now is not the time to change leaders. And now is not the time to be distracted into internal strife and battles among one another for power and control of the GOP infrastructure.”

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UPDATE: At the time of this writing, we are reporting Steele’s thinking as we can ascertain it. But Steele has been unpredictable over the last few weeks. He could still change his mind.

That said, he’s booked for Greta van Susteren tonight at 10.

Stay tuned for updates.

Posted at 5:08 pm by Tim Mak

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UPDATE: Key Steele ally New Mexico National Committeeman Pat Rogers tells FrumForum: “I’d be shocked if he didn’t run.”

Posted at 6:08pm by Tim Mak

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UPDATE : Bob Tiernan, chair of Oregon, to FrumForum: “I fully expect [Steele] to run. There’s no question in my mind that he’s running.” Tiernan has been an outspoken supporter of Steele, and a key ally on the committee.

See ‘The Tiernan-Yue Spat‘ for evidence.

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9 Comments so far ↓

  • The American Spectator : AmSpecBlog : Report: Steele to Run Again

    [...] RNC Chairman Michael Steele will tonight announce his plans to run for re-election, the Frum Forum reports. StumbleUpon| Digg| Reddit| Twitter| [...]

  • SkepticalIdealist

    As incompetent as Steele can appear to be, it’s hard to argue against results. Republicans took back the house, and the reasons they didn’t take back the Senate can be attributed to an overzealous tea party and Democrats boarding up the windows in anticipation of a 94′ style hurricane.

    He’s a goof ball, more visible than most would like, and extremely gaffe prone – but who cares? I’ll take a gaffe-prone chair over one that produces huge electoral losses any day of the week. If anything Democrats should replace Tim Kaine. I have no idea how the media can talk so much about how Steele needs to be replaced, while Tim knew that a hurricane was coming and didn’t do nearly enough damage control to stop it. The fact that it happened is reason enough to doubt him, regardless of how wonkish he sounds while talking to major donors during a limousine ride.

    Tim Kaine isn’t overexposed, isn’t prone to using hip-hop slang, and doesn’t make any gaffes, but I could say the same for a house plant. That doesn’t make a compelling argument for replacing Steele with a well-trimmed fern. Besides, since when is stupidity a disqualifier in the GOP? Dan Quayle, Bush Jr., Palin, and don’t even get me started on Limbaugh, Beck, and the rest. It’s a double standard, really. It says that only white morons can attain positions of power. Surely there’s room for at least one moron of color. For affirmative action’s sake, if nothing else.

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  • politicalfan

    “For affirmative action’s sake, if nothing else.”

    That is an “ouch” statement if I ever heard one. So based on your last sentence there, by all means. Make sure the Republican party is good at appearing diverse?

    Let’s look at examples, “thanks for opening the door btw,” when McCain picked a candidate. The obvious choice was to pick a Republican woman. Who could beat a candidate Obama? Maybe a woman can, because all women would be happy about that because we need a Hilary Clinton sort of. (Palin is and will never be a Hilary Clinton, that is like comparing a political rookie to a real politician.)

    So then let’s pick a RNC chairman. Oh Michael Steele is great for now, can’t make enough money though, problematic. Now he is dispensable? (Why? They won big in 2010! Who messed up the Senate seats, that would be Palin.)

    What do they say about appearances skepticalIdealist?
    Oh let’s elect a few more people to make our party look great in a photo op.

    Don’t open that door claiming if for nothing else, “affirmative action’s sake,” there are many superbly educated minorities who need jobs, they would be glad to walk on in. So, my thought is Michael Steele, run if you want to run sir!!! The Republican party has made some poor calculations and I am not sure that you are at the top of their goof list.

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  • ktward

    Minutes ago, USA today reported that Steele is indeed running for a second term. It will be interesting to see how/if he manages to tap dance around Gentry Collins’s scathing account of his chairmanship.

    I’m not a popcorn person– anyone got raisinets?

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  • Fairy Hardcastle

    All this Cino, tino, rino stuff is beside the point. Steele will run and will win.

  • ktward

    Fairy: Steele will run and will win.

    Wow! That’s a bit of fascinating bait that I’ll take: why do you believe Steel will win his re-election bid?