Former Maryland Lieutenant Governor, Michael Steele, Hoping to Take Reins of the RNC

michael-steele.jpgFormer Maryland lieutenant governor Michael S. Steele said yesterday
that he will seek the chairmanship of the Republican National
Committee, a move sure to shake up the race for control of a party
demoralized by losses in last week’s elections.


“After two devastating election cycles, the party has reached a
crossroads,” said Steele, who compared the Republican Party to someone
who has “hunkered down” in a corner with no real idea how to get out.
“I think I may have some keys to open the door, some juice to turn on
the lights,” he added.

Steele is the second candidate to enter
the race; Michigan Republican Party Chairman Saul Anuzis launched a bid
with a YouTubevideo and new Web site earlier this week. A number of
other possible contenders have been mentioned, including current RNC
Chairman Mike Duncan, former House speaker Newt Gingrich (Ga.), former
Tennessee Republican Party chairman Chip Saltsman, former Iowa
congressman Jim Nussle, South Carolina Party Chairman Katon Dawson and
Florida Republican Party Chairman Jim Greer.

The next chairman will be selected by 168 committee members during the RNC’s meeting in January.

Steele
seems virtually certain to be one of the front-runners. After a stint
as chairman of the Maryland Republican Party, Steele was elected
lieutenant governor of Maryland in 2002. Four years later, he ran for
the Senate, losing to then-Rep. Benjamin L. Cardin (D).

Since
that loss, Steele has remained active in the party as chairman of
GOPAC, a national conservative organization designed to elect
Republicans at the state and local levels. Steele is also African
American, a potentialbenefit for a party seeking to broaden its base of
support.

Steele said he made his decision to run last weekend
but delayed his public announcement so that he could call RNC members
to discuss the party’s future, which he believes lies with the states.

“I
know firsthand the RNC must truly be run as a federation of state
parties in order to be effective,” he said. “I believe the leadership
of our party must come from its grass roots, because the members of the
RNC are the best representation of what direction our party needs to
take.”

Source: Washington Post

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