Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Michael Steele, Republican Chairman, May Face Opposition

If I recall, it seems like folks thought Michael Steele was pretty much innoculated against an ouster. The lefty spin would be that the GOP is RAAAAACIST!! But here's this, in any case, via New York Times:
WASHINGTON — Turning their attention to the 2012 presidential election, Republican leaders are digging in for a battle over control of the Republican National Committee, judging that its role in fund-raising, get-out-the-vote operations and other tasks will be critical to the effort to topple President Obama.

Some senior party officials are maneuvering to put pressure on Michael Steele, the controversial party chairman, not to seek re-election when his term ends in January or, failing that, to encourage a challenger to step forward to take him on.

So far, the effort has been tentative, with Mr. Steele’s most ardent opponents working behind the scenes to persuade an alternative to run against him — fearful that any overt moves will create a backlash in Mr. Steele’s favor among those committee members who tend to view the establishment in Washington with suspicion.

One man leading the effort is a Mississippi Republican Party committeeman, Henry Barbour, who is a nephew of Gov. Haley Barbour of Mississippi — a former chairman of the Republican National Committee, himself. Governor Barbour is said by people involved in the discussions to be among those eager to see a change at the top the party and recently criticized party fund-raising under Mr. Steele.

Officials close to the presumed new House speaker, Representative John A. Boehner, and the Senate minority leader, Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, said that both men would prefer a new chairman, as well, but that they were also resigned to Mr. Steele’s continued leadership should no clear alternative emerge to defeat him.

In an interview Tuesday night, Henry Barbour said, “I like Mike Steele and I’ve worked hard to support him as chairman.” But, he added, “I do think we have to make a change and I have actively talked to some other members in the last week or so and encouraged a few of them to consider running.”

Among those Mr. Barbour has approached is a member of Mr. Steele’s “kitchen cabinet” of advisers, Reince Priebus, who is chairman of the Republican Party of Wisconsin and who helped manage Mr. Steele’s first election for the chairmanship two years ago.

Several officials involved in the discussions, all of whom requested anonymity to share details of the talks, said Mr. Priebus had recently warned Mr. Steele that a run for re-election could prove difficult this time around, and advised him to consider leaving the chairmanship at time when he could point to big Republican gains nationwide.

But Mr. Priebus has made it clear that he is personally uncomfortable with the idea of challenging Mr. Steele directly for the post, given their friendship.

The effort to woo Mr. Priebus was first reported Tuesday on the Web site of The Washington Post.

Michael Steele

WaPo's piece is here: "Republicans Attempt to Recruit Alternative to Michael Steele."

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