|Dec. 1, 2010--The Republican
Conservative Caucus and FreedomWorks (+)
a forum for candidates for RNC chairman at the Washington
strong showing in
the 2010 midterm elections, RNC Chairman Michael Steele has
committed a number of gaffes and there has been concern over excessive
inadequate fundraising during his tenure. It is not clear if
Steele, who was elected
on the sixth ballot in January 2009, is seeking
another term. Declared candidates Saul Anuzis and Ann Wagner and
exporatory candidates Gentry Collins and Mike Duncan participated in
this forum. Two other prospects who did not attend were Maria
Cino, who is seeking to speak with each of the 168 RNC members before
doing any overt campaigning (she was at 130 as of Monday), and Chris
Healy, who was engaged in family matters in Arizona. If Steele
does not seek another term, Norm Coleman or Reince Priebus could also
run. In addition to this public event, the RNCC planned private
interviews with candidates and potential candidates on December
|Flanking the stage, in addition
to the American flag, was the yellow Gadsden "Don't Tread on Me"
flag. In his remarks opening the forum, James Bopp, RNC
committeman from Indiana, said that the candidates "that are here today
show that they understand the importance of the Tea Party movement."
The audience included an interesting mix of Tea Party and conservative
activists as well as about 20 RNC members. Attendees ranged from
Morton Blackwell, president
of the Leadership Institute and RNC committeeman from Virginia since
1988, to LaDonna
Hale Curzon, executive producer of Sarah Palin Radio.
|In response to a question from
Anna Puig of Kitchen Table Patriots in Pennsylvania, the four agreed on
the need to rebuild confidence of the donor base. (Collins said
the RNC will have to raise $400-$425 million in the 2012 cycle).
Parker LaCoste, who recently managed Mark Zaccaria's congressional
campaign in RI-2, asked what the candidates would do to make the RNC
competitive in all 50 states. Dee Armstrong from the Blue Ridge
Patriots in West Virginia asked "how do you plan on integrating the Tea
Party movement into the RNC?" (Armstrong later said she was
disappointed that there was not more direct recognition of the Tea
Party movement's role in the successes of November 2, and that she had
hoped for more specific responses. Another attendee, Michael
Master, author of "Save America Now! The New Revolution to Save Freedom
& Liberty," later expressed the view that none of the current
"gets it" and that Sarah Palin would make an ideal party chair.).
A Tea Party organizer from
Portland, OR asked about the role of technology and about young
Via Facebook Jack Ellis asked how people can trust Republicans to act
as conservatives, citing the example of a number of Senators who did
not support a moratorium on earmarks.
|Bill Crocker, RNC
committeeman from Texas (left), and Morton Blackwell, RNC committeeman
Virginia (right), asked whether the candidates would support a party
unity pledge. The idea, advanced by Blackwell, would seek to
deter candidates such as Dede Scozzafava, Arlen Specter, Charlie Crist
Murkowski, who have ended up running against Republican nominees.
|Another candidate debate,
organized by Grover Norquist's Americans for Tax Reform, is scheduled
for January 3, 2011. The 168 RNC member will vote for chairman at
Winter Meeting to be held in the DC area on January 12-15, 2011.