Surprise: Michael Steele reportedly running for reelection as RNC chair after all

posted at 5:47 pm on December 13, 2010 by Allahpundit

Politico said he wasn’t, now Fox News (and Frum Forum) say he is. To help you process this news, read Ed’s post from this morning about Obama potentially spending a cool billion on the 2012 campaign and then have a look at Jay Cost’s graph of Republican fundraising over the last four cycles. Said Cost, believing that Steele was set to bow out, “In the end, this is what did Michael Steele in. He could not raise the money, and that just will not do moving forward.”

Or will it?

Ending weeks of rumors that he would not seek a second term, Steele plans to throw his hat into the ring during a conference call with RNC members at 7:30 p.m. ET, the sources said. Steele is said to be amused by false reports of his retirement and intentionally kept his plans secret for the last month in order to flush out competitors for the post, Fox has learned.

During Steele’s tenure, Republicans picked up 63 House seats in last month’s elections, the biggest gain in more than seven decades. But Steele has been dogged by criticism from some Republicans who see him as prone to missteps.

Criticism of Steele has helped lead to a crowded field of challengers seeking to head the RNC. Among those who have officially announced they are in the race are Saul Anuzis, a committee member from Michigan who ran and lost to Steele in 2009, and Reince Priebus of Wisconsin, a former member of Steele’s inner circle, along with former Luxembourg Ambassador Anne Wagner.

So that explains why he didn’t show up at the RNC chair debate: He was lying low, cagily making it look like he wouldn’t run again so that, er … more contenders would jump into the race. Frum Forum’s whip count puts him at around 45-60 votes in the first round of balloting, with 85 needed to win; several of his former aides and allies (Reince Priebus, Gentry Collins, etc) are in the race as challengers, so a key question will be what happens to their supporters if/when they’re eliminated in the first few rounds. Are those supporters so disgruntled with Steele that they’ll gravitate to a consensus alternative, like Saul Anuzis? Or are they actually clubby RNC insiders who prefer Priebus and Collins to Steele but will resort to the chairman as a next best option if their preference is eliminated? Or will some outsider with fundraising appeal, like Norm Coleman, sweep in to provide yet another alternative?

There are only two reasons to conceivably back Steele, as I see it. One: The GOP did, after all, win 63 seats on his watch, and he’s been lying low enough over the last few months that at least it looks like the gaffe-o-rama phase of his chairmanship is finally over. All of which is well and good, but in that case I urge you to follow the link up top and eyeball Cost’s graph again. The question isn’t whether the GOP did well this year, it’s whether it could have done better if the RNC had been flush with cash. Gentry Collins argued that poor fundraising might have cost Republicans an extra two dozen House seats, but given that he’s now challenging Steele for the chairman’s position, take that estimate for what it’s worth. Two: If you believe that, in an age of online donations and targeted giving to campaigns, the RNC will never again be relevant the way it once was, then maybe it’s better to keep Steele in place. It’ll avoid a nasty public squabble between pro-Steele factions, led by Palin, and anti-Steele factions like the “Bush establishment,” and it’ll spare us the spectacle of Steele doing interviews to dump on the GOP after he loses. Plus, if Steele’s reelected, Republican outside groups are bound to start planning way ahead to pick up the slack in case the RNC can’t get its act together to fulfill its traditional fundraising and GOTV roles. No one cares about the RNC as an organization, only that its functions are being done and done well by some conservative outfit. If Steele’s reelected, it means that some other outfit or outfits will be pressured to step up. Inconvenient, but not fatal. I think.


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

Another establishment type that can’t let go of power. Disgusting.

Laddy on December 13, 2010 at 5:52 PM

Not one dime.

OmahaConservative on December 13, 2010 at 5:53 PM

I will donate to individual races…The hell with the RNC….

hawkman on December 13, 2010 at 5:54 PM

Steele has been a fund raising powerhouse, for the tea party.

tarpon on December 13, 2010 at 5:56 PM

This is awesome news. The Haters can bite dust.

Chudi on December 13, 2010 at 5:56 PM

Michael, you had your chance, and a lot of support when you took over the RNC, but face it, you blew it.

Not one dime to the RNC from this point forward. Why should I give money to Democrat-lite when there are other real alternatives out there far more responsive to the very real concerns of the American people?

Be a voice on the sidelines if you must engage, Michael, but in charge? No.

coldwarrior on December 13, 2010 at 5:57 PM

in an age of online donations and targeted giving to campaigns, the RNC will never again be relevant the way it once was

THIS.

davek70 on December 13, 2010 at 5:57 PM

Not one dime PENNY.

OmahaConservative on December 13, 2010 at 5:53 PM

NOT ONE DAMN PENNY.

CAN YOU HEAR US NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!

RealMc on December 13, 2010 at 5:57 PM

The RNC needs an effective fundraiser and an effective strategist. Steele has demonstrated that he is neither. He needs to go.

AZCoyote on December 13, 2010 at 5:58 PM

the RNC will never again be relevant the way it once was, then maybe it’s better to keep Steele in place. It’ll avoid a nasty public squabble between pro-Steele factions

Great. Now conservatives endorse token figureheads.

Joe Mama on December 13, 2010 at 5:58 PM

Not one dime.

OmahaConservative on December 13, 2010 at 5:53 PM

They finally took me off their mailing list. I guess they got tired of all that Monopoly money I kept sending back in their prepaid envelopes.

Knucklehead on December 13, 2010 at 5:59 PM

Consider me vanilla in this issue, because, I’d like to read specific complaints as to what those with those complaints have as to Steele’s liabilities.

I’m not throwing down some gauntlet, I’m asking for more information, because I’d like to know what it is, specifically, that’s so offensive to some about the guy.

My own views are, as I stated already, rather vanilla about Steele: not pro, not con.

Lourdes on December 13, 2010 at 5:59 PM

The Jay Cost article is a good one.

John the Libertarian on December 13, 2010 at 5:59 PM

I don’t think there’s any way an outisde group could pick up the GOTV slack due to legal restrictions about coordinating with campaigns (the the National Party can do). Dump this effing moron or we are SCREWED in 2012. Good GOTV can be worth 2 or 3 points.

BuzzCrutcher on December 13, 2010 at 5:59 PM

Michael Steele is such a Drama Queen.

portlandon on December 13, 2010 at 6:02 PM

Frum Forum’s whip count puts him at around 45-60 votes in the first round of balloting, with 85 needed to win

Who are these people voting – they need to be replaced if they bring back Steele.

Rebar on December 13, 2010 at 6:05 PM

Steele intentionally kept quiet so he could “flush out competitors”? WTF does that mean?

It’s secret ballot, Mike, not secret candidates. What a goofball.

Dusty on December 13, 2010 at 6:05 PM

WHAZZ UP

txag92 on December 13, 2010 at 6:06 PM

Steele should follow Favre and sit out.

rbj on December 13, 2010 at 6:07 PM

More of the same from the GOP. Obviously, the learned nothing from the last election and the gaffemeister!

flytier on December 13, 2010 at 6:10 PM

I guess they got tired of all that Monopoly money I kept sending back in their prepaid envelopes.

Knucklehead on December 13, 2010 at 5:59 PM

Heh. I sent U O ME’s handwrittenn on their appeals—reverse I O U s requesting my previous donations back, on their postage dime. I am off the list too. I tested the money bomb waters and the water is fine.

OmahaConservative on December 13, 2010 at 6:10 PM

Steele is completely unqualified for another term: he mismanaged the RNC, alienated donors, and kept his foot in his mouth throughout his tenure. Enough!

CatoRenasci on December 13, 2010 at 6:10 PM

I can’t wait. he will lose…go on every talk show and talk about how Republican’s hate the black man and he tried, tried, to change the party from within and exercise it from its racist demons. But alas, he was unsuccessful.

Should be fun.

ramrants on December 13, 2010 at 6:13 PM

Steele may have done all of the above, but I don’t blame him for the lower fund raising numbers. I blame the DC elite RINOS who get RINOS to run in the primaries and back the RINOS when there is a good conservative in the race. Thus, not one dime from me either.

I do the targeted fund raising DIRECTLY with the conservative candidates in the primary and general. I do not want MY DIMES to go to any RINO running, regardless of which election it may be.

So until those elitist RINO morons “get it” and pick better, more conservative candidates, phooey on the national committee.

karenhasfreedom on December 13, 2010 at 6:19 PM

OmahaConservative on December 13, 2010 at 6:10 PM

Heh!

ladyingray on December 13, 2010 at 6:22 PM

gop just called me today asking for a donation…i declined politely…

cmsinaz on December 13, 2010 at 6:26 PM

So until those elitist RINO morons “get it” and pick better, more conservative candidates, phooey on the national committee.

karenhasfreedom on December 13, 2010 at 6:19 PM

2nd that!

cmsinaz on December 13, 2010 at 6:27 PM

One: The GOP did, after all, win 63 seats on his watch,

It wasn’t because of anything he did.

ladyingray on December 13, 2010 at 6:29 PM

[cmsinaz on December 13, 2010 at 6:26 PM]

It’s time like that which make me wish I still had a land line.

Dusty on December 13, 2010 at 6:32 PM

Steele is getting a bad rap from the elites, the establishment, because he isn’t one of them. Steele actually favors the Tea Party, and of course is friends with Sarah Palin. THAT’S why these establishment losers hate him. As for GOTV efforts, he was all over the country doing that, and had the biggest GOP stars with him, like Sarah Palin who drew crowds. Huge crowds.

Of course RNC Chair is the position best served by an establishment hack. Someone who hides from the limelight. Someone who prefers to work in silence behind the scenes.

With that said:

Mitt Romney Should Be The Next RNC Chairman

gary4205 on December 13, 2010 at 6:34 PM

It’s time like that which make me wish I still had a land line.

Dusty on December 13, 2010 at 6:32 PM

got it via cell phone my friend, haven’t had a land line for years…

cmsinaz on December 13, 2010 at 6:36 PM

GTFO already. Sheesh.

RarestRX on December 13, 2010 at 6:45 PM

Steele is a disaster from a fund raising standpoint and has committed numerous verbal gaffes. He has also played the race card several times. Recently it has come to light that he is lavishing excessive amounts of RNC money on friends whose contributions to the organization are dubious at best. He failed to fund the 72 hour GOTV operation which probably cost us 2 senate seats at least. His expiration date is long passed.

echosyst on December 13, 2010 at 6:48 PM

I don’t want Steele.

I think Ken Blackwell would be better.

Conservative Samizdat on December 13, 2010 at 6:54 PM

http://chooseyourchairman.com has a list of all who are running with their bios.

powerpro on December 13, 2010 at 7:05 PM

I liked Michael Steele. I still do, to an extent. I could forgive his gaffes and even some of the mismanagement, especially from a first-term chairman working with a hostile and entrenched establishment. I think he got some good hits in against the Dems, particularly on ObamaCare (“Up or down, baby!”). I loved the fact that he put a fresh face on the GOP and that his very existence poked holes in the Democrats’ narrative of the GOP as racists (his gaffes to the contrary, he was still a black Republican heading up the RNC and that’s a big deal).

But if he can’t raise money, then he’s not getting the job done. The fact that the RNC is millions in the hole is not a good sign. The position needs to be filled by someone who can shake the money tree. I would much rather Steele step down than be defeated.

Caiwyn on December 13, 2010 at 7:08 PM

This is awesome news. The Haters can bite dust.

Chudi on December 13, 2010 at 5:56 PM

You pay his salary and bite some dust.
Not one dime.

OmahaConservative on December 13, 2010 at 7:22 PM

I guess I should be all upset over this but I’m just not.
He really is not that bad and I just don’t give a sh*t.

The mid terms were a success, let’s see who runs in 2012.
No more Rinos(this includes Jeb bush), don’t want to see any Mark Mckinnon’s or Steve schmitz in the background of any canadates campaign. That is a deal braker

kangjie on December 13, 2010 at 7:24 PM

No one cares about the RNC as an organization, only that its functions are being done and done well by some conservative outfit. If Steele’s reelected, it means that some other outfit or outfits will be pressured to step up. Inconvenient, but not fatal. I think.

Actually, that’s almost convincing. To the point where I would hope that Steele doesn’t dig an even deeper hole than he already has.

And you’re thinking, nah, he wouldn’t. And I’m thinking …

manwithblackhat on December 13, 2010 at 7:29 PM

Hey you RINO’s……Better do like Carville says….Borrow one of Hillary’s balls and tell Steele to bow out. If he is running things, fundraising will go down the tubes!

Dat duh trute hommie!

J.

JohnnyMojo on December 13, 2010 at 7:48 PM

Before there was a Tea Party, Steele’s fundraising sucked. Before “RINO” candiates were chosen by the “establishment”, Steele’s fundraising sucked.

Exit question: Did Steele spend/waste money like a drunken sailor as a “shout-out” to the Tea Party? Did he do it to punish Karl Rove for bad-mouthing Cristine O’Donnell?

BuzzCrutcher on December 13, 2010 at 7:55 PM

Idoit! GTFO Steele!

WisCon on December 13, 2010 at 7:58 PM

AP said:
If Steele’s reelected, it means that some other outfit or outfits will be pressured to step up. Inconvenient, but not fatal. I think.

Other groups may be able to do advertising and dollar donations but who’s going to handle the GOTV effort if the RNC crashes and burns?

jnelchef on December 13, 2010 at 7:59 PM

Only reason I back Steele is there IS NO GRASSROOTS ALTERNATIVE. If Steele goes … then the establishment gets their boy in. I’m totally into eliminating the establishment … usurping the establishment … REPLACING THE ESTABLISHMENT.

Yeah – Mike Steele is a clown – but he’s never going to be back into the “establishment” corner again. I’ll take that.

Thank You.

HondaV65 on December 13, 2010 at 7:59 PM

Steele and the RNC won’t see a dime from me. My money, just like this last cycle, will go directly to fiscally conservative candidates.

glockomatic on December 13, 2010 at 8:01 PM

On the thread of the article on Drudge about Steele, several made a great point. Because of Steele’s ineptness, the Tea Party was able to gain all those seats. (Steele was not responsible for those wins). If the RINO’S or Bush people get back in control, the Tea Party may not be so successful because the GOP will push their own people(RINO’S).

silvernana on December 13, 2010 at 8:05 PM

What’s the over/under in the number of days before he says something that he later has to explain or recant?

Hummer53 on December 13, 2010 at 8:08 PM

Other groups may be able to do advertising and dollar donations but who’s going to handle the GOTV effort if the RNC crashes and burns?

jnelchef on December 13, 2010 at 7:59 PM

BINGO. That’s why we must have a viable RNC. Dems can turn out people based on union membership and race. It doesn’t take much information to identify those people, or much work to contact them Our supporters are hidden among the general population, and we need lots of information to identify them and lots of organization and manpower to turn them out. Neither of those things come cheap. And while some conservative groups are great at turning out their members to vote, no one other than the Party is going to be able to cover as much of the country or as wide a swath of the population in most areas.

GOTV isn’t getting 50,000 people to turn out at a rally. Those people are going to vote anyway. GOTV is identifying an extra 2 or 3 or 10 voters on every block or neighborhood, who are generally conservative but may not be informed or motivated enough to show up at the polls without a knock on the door, alkick in the pants, and maybe a ride. Say what you want about Karl Rove and Ken Mehlman, but in 2004 they did this better than it’s ever been done. It takes money, organization and discipline, 3 things not typically identified with Michael Steele.

BuzzCrutcher on December 13, 2010 at 8:16 PM

Nominate Ken Blackwell!

Time for a real conservative.

CPT. Charles on December 13, 2010 at 8:27 PM

Steele ineptness cost the GOP the seats in Washington and Colorado. We had good candidates and those should have been gimmees.

cadams on December 13, 2010 at 8:32 PM

It’ll avoid a nasty public squabble between pro-Steele factions, led by Palin

Are you kidding me??! Palin is for Steele staying? What the heck is she thinking?

scotash on December 14, 2010 at 2:13 AM