Tuesday, December 14, 2010

GOP Chairman Steele Announces Bid For Re-Election

Michael Steele made headlines again Monday.

Michael Steele, the controversial chairman of the Republican party, says he'll seek a second term.

Steele made the announcement in a conference call Monday to members of the Republican National Committee.

Michael Steele sees the writing on the wall. Dwindling support among his most faithful of supporters has taken a toll as the number of potential challengers rises.

During his tenure, Steele cultivated an inner circle of about 30 advisers, out of the RNC's 168 voting members, who served as unofficial liaisons to the rest of the committee. But that circle has shrunk in recent weeks as formerly close allies began informing Steele they would no longer back his candidacy.

And, yet, the man forges on. He announced he will run for re-election as GOP Chairman.

Many insiders see the defection of Wisconsin GOP chairman Reince Priebus as the beginning of the dominoes chain of events which firmed up the rising challenges for Steele. Priebus is Steele's legal counsel and former campaign manager. He has thrown his hat into the ring and has been accumulating early support from some heavyweights.

Steele is amused at the competition for his job.

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.

It is easy to criticize some of the well publicized blunders Steele has made. He doesn't always filter his thoughts and isn't always the best at monetary decisions. However, I would argue that the man responded early to the Tea Party movement and welcomed them into the Republican voting block. He reached out and brought some of the early leaders to Washington to meet with him. He traveled around the country speaking to groups as outreach, too. That is good. And, the Tea Party voters joined with Republicans to usher in the history making GOP victories on November 2. He should get some credit for that, amongst all of the criticism against him.

There is an impressive roster of challengers lining up. One in particular has never stopped campaigning for the job and uses a strong social media presence to promote himself. It may be noted that he was unsuccessful in his bid last time around when Steele originally secured the job.

Steele is a fighter. Though conventional wisdom would indicate that he will lose in his bid for re-election, it's too early to count the man out.

No comments: