Steele’s foes within GOP yet to settle on a viable opponent to run against him

For all the talk of replacing Michael Steele at the Republican National Committee, Republicans who want him out are having a difficult time figuring out who’s the man or woman to do it.

Some think an opponent needs to be settled upon this week. Others – particularly two of the men who are expected to run against Steele if the chairman runs for a second term – said Tuesday they were not in a rush to commit.

“I’m in no hurry to decide one way or another,” said Saul Anuzis, a Michigan member of the RNC who ran for chairman in 2009, lasting five rounds but never getting more than 31 votes from the 186 RNC members.

Katon Dawson, who was the most serious challenger to Steele in 2009, also said Monday he was not yet ready to make any announcements.

Dawson, the former chair of the South Carolina Republican Party, said no one has emerged that could unite the full contingent of RNC members who want Steele out.

“They’re not going to coalesce behind one person because that one person has not shown up yet,” Dawson said.

Dawson, who in July called for Steele to be fired, said “that one person has just got the wrong last name and it’s Bush. The one person is Jeb Bush.”

“If I had my pick of a former governor to run the RNC … it would be Jeb Bush,” Dawson said, though he admitted that he did not think the former Republican governor of Florida and younger brother of former President George W. Bush would seriously consider such a move.

Bush did not respond to a request for comment.

Steele has not yet declared whether he will seek a second term, but he is widely expected to do so. One of his biggest backers could be former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, but a spokeswoman on Monday ignored a question e-mailed to her about whether Palin supports Steele.

It is a sign of how badly some want a new chairman that the list of names being floated to replace Steele seems to expand and mutate with each passing day. Mike Duncan, the past chairman of the RNC who was defeated by Steele in 2009, has had his name floated in recent days. Anuzis said former Bush White House political advisers Karl Rove and Ed Gillespie were behind the rumor, trying to see if support for Duncan materializes.

“There’s no question that there have been some concerns, many of which have been raised publicly and privately, with respect to how things have gone [under Steele],” Anuzis said. “Those are the aspects that today people are trying to judge whether that can be fixed internally or whether that requires a change.”

Of Duncan, Anuzis said, “there’s a lot of people who respect Mike and think he’s done a good job. There’s a lot of people who think his time came and went. There’s some interest out there. He will be one of the viable possible candidates.”

Others trying to influence the debate include Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, the head of the Republican Governors Association, who was not shy about criticizing Steele over the last several months. Top aides to House Speaker-to-be John Boehner of Ohio have played some role in floating names, such as Maria Cino, a little-known bureaucrat from the Bush administration Department of Transportation.

Barbour himself has rejected calls to return to the job he held in 1994, instead indicating a desire to run for president in 2012. His nephew, Henry Barbour, is a committee member from Mississippi and has been mentioned by several sources as someone who could defeat Steele.

  • Sonny119

    Look, the Tea Party Folks do not want to see Steele go, it’s the Liberal Republican Party Establishment Good Ole Boys, that want to see him go.. and do you know why, because he was, and is, not one of them… He sided with Gov. Sarah Palin, and the Tea Party Leadership and Folks, and rode the Anti-Obama Republican wave, all the way to Victory..!! And for some in the Republican Party Establishment, after an Historic Republican Victory, to try and push aside Chairman Steele, is almost unheard of.. This attempted coupe, and undermining of Chairman Steele, by certain People like, Karl Rove, is actually an attempt to push out the now Powerful Political Tea Party Movement Coalition in the Republican Party, but will ultimately Fail, as the Tea Party Movement Folks, are the American People, and without the support of the American People, aka Tea Party Folks, they will not be able to take back the White House in 2012.
    Chairman Steele, We, The American Tea Party Folks, aka The American People, have got your back. Stand Fast, and Stand Tall.!!!

  • Mabel Rockwell


    • thephranc

      He was so great the GOP as a club saw much lower donations. People who were sick of Steele gave directly to candidates. His spending GOP money on stupid things. His use of the race card against people who pointed out he was doing things wrong.

    • Sonny119

      Mabel, Steele is not one of them, a Republican Party Establishment Elite, who gives major support to the Tea Party Movement, and Gov. Sarah Palin, and Sen. Jim DeMint, and Rep. Michele Bachmann, and consequently, they want to push him out.. That’s why.. They also view Steele as not as Political astute and strong, as say Haley Barber is.. Remember, they, the Republican Party Establishment Elites, all think like Obamacrats, that they know better, and that they are better.. But what they fail to realize is that this is not about keeping score, this is about taking back our nation, from the clutches of sinister people in the Govt today, ie; Obama and all of his henchmen and cronies, who are bent on destroying America, as we know it, for the last 234 years. This is above all else, is of the utmost priority.!!!

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  • westvalley

    Hmm – seems like any white man will do!


    Meg Whitman, Christen O’Donnell, Sharon Angle

    Either one of them would be a good choice I think…..

    • thephranc

      I’m so glad that whites can do it.

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  • JoeJ

    Hmm – seems like any white man will do!

    • thephranc

      Exactly stormfront joe.