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reelectchairmansteele.com anuzisforchair.com mariaforchairman.com reinceforrnc.com annwagner.com

www.rncdebate.org gentrycollins.com (withdrew)

Five Vying for Post  
[updated Jan. 3, 2011] Despite Republicans' strong showing in the 2010 midterm elections, there is now a contest to lead the party into the 2012 elections.  RNC Chairman Michael Steele, who was elected on the sixth ballot in January 2009, has committed a number of gaffes, and members are also concerned over excessive spending as well as inadequate fundraising among major donors during his tenure.  Steele surprised many observers by announcing on Dec. 13 that he is seeked a second term.  Five candidates announced challenges to Steele and one has since withdrawn. 

Members of the RNC will elect the chairman at the party's Winter Meeting to be held in the DC area on January 12-15, 2011.  Although the race ultimately will come down to getting votes of 85 of the 168 RNC members, various constituencies are seeking to influence the selection.  The Republican National Conservative Caucus (RNCC), a 501(c)(4) non-profit formed by conservative RNC members, developed a list of “13 Leadership Criteria for RNC Chairman Candidates.”  FreedomWorks, chaired by former House Minorty Leader Dick Armey, wants to "select Republican leadership sympathetic to the tea party tenets of limited government and more individual freedom."  The RNCC and FreedomWorks organized a public candidate forum on December 1, and the RNCC held private meetings with candidates the next day.  Grover Norquist's Americans for Tax Reform, the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List and The Daily Caller are co-sponsoring a candidate debate on January 3.  (SBA List posted interviews with the candidates and urged that "the next RNC Chair be able to articulate the pro-life message laid out in the Republican Party platform and be ready to work with the pro-life movement and its leaders to advance pro-life candidates.") >  

- Michael Steele, the incumbent chairman, is highlighting Republican successes in 2010, "a watershed year for Republicans and our conservative, limited-government movement," that has "laid the framework for winning the White House."  He vows a more disciplined, streamlined operation at the RNC. +

- Former Michigan GOP Chairman Saul Anuzis, who finished third in the last election for RNC chair, announced his candidacy on Nov. 12.  Anuzis wrote on his website, "As Chairman of the RNC, I'll do the work behind the scenes—not out in front of the camera—to restore the faith of the committee's supporters, and empower a grassroots army with the tools and technologies to end the Obama presidency before he destroys our country." +

- Ann Wagner, former chair of the Missouri Republican Party and a former RNC Co-Chair, announced on Nov. 29.  In her announcement she noted, "My lifetime of service to the Republican Party—a record of proven conservative leadership and results—has prepared me for this job." +

- Wisconsin Republican Chair Reince Priebus, who had been a key ally of Michael Steele in 2009 and served as the party's general counsel, announced on Dec. 6 in a letter and video.  Priebus emphasized Republican successes in Wisconsin in the 2010 elections and pledged "to rebuild the RNC to a position of great strength." +

- Maria Cino, whose experience includes president and CEO of the 2008 Republican National Convention, deputy chairman at the RNC in the 2004 cycle, political director on Gov. George Bush's 2000 presidential campaign, and executive director of the NRCC in the 1994 cycle, entered the race on Dec. 10.  Her biography notes she "offers the broadest, deepest national political experience of any candidate in recent history." +

Former RNC political director Gentry Collins, whose sharply critical Nov. 16 resignation letter cast further doubts on Steele's leadership, entered the race on Dec. 13 promising "competence, confidence, experience and execution." +  Collins ended his bid on Jan. 2, 2011.

Former RNC chaiman Mike Duncan, who headed the party from Jan. 2007-Jan. 2009 and subsequently became chairman of American Crossroads, considered running and participated in the Dec. 1 candidate forum but ruled a run for the chairmanship out in a Dec. 17 statement.  Former U.S. Sen. Norm Coleman (MN), who is CEO of the American Action Network and sister 501(c)(3) American Action Forum, was also mentioned, but stated he would not run if Steele did.  Connecticut GOP Chairman Chris Healy considered running but ruled it out on Dec. 8.  Some Tea Party activists urged former Gov. Sarah Palin to seek the post, but she ruled it out on Dec. 6.