Is uneasiness about how Michael Steele runs the Republican National Committee why veteran Republicans are forming a group to raise money from big donors and help get GOP candidates elected?
“American Crossroads was not born of Michael Steele as chairman and it will be around long after he has moved on to other things,” said a Republican strategist close to the effort, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
The Wall Street Journal reported the group plans to raise $52 million to help Republican candidates, likely competing with the RNC for donors. News of the group broke during a week when Steele’s leadership of the RNC has been questioned and donors are said to be looking for alternative venues for their money.
Former RNC Chairmen Mike Duncan and Ed Gillespie are said to be involved in the effort, as is former RNC co-chair Joanne Davidson and former White House adviser Karl Rove. Steven Law, top counsel at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, will leave his job to head the day-to-day operations of the group.
Calls to Law’s office were not returned.
RNC spokesman Doug Heye says the committee “absolutely” welcomes the group as another fighter on the battlefield for Republicans in November. “As we saw in past cycles, the Democrats were way ahead of us with organizations like that. It’s important that we have as many people fighting back as possible,” he said.
Even though the strategist denied the group is a response to Steele said its more about how Republicans “have long realized the need to match the Democrats’ third-party efforts,” American Crossroads appears to be positioning itself as an outlet for those less comfortable with Steele’s RNC and more at ease with old-school Republicans.
“Now there is an organization that will have the experience behind it to make donors comfortable, at the same time elect Republicans,” the source said of the new group.