Norm Coleman won’t run for RNC chair if Steele does

Alex Pappas Political Reporter
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Former Minnesota Sen. Norm Coleman says he will not mount a campaign for chairman of the Republican National Committee if Chairman Michael Steele decides to run for re-election.

“If he’s in, then I’m out,” Coleman said during an interview with The Daily Caller.

Steele, whose term is up in January, has not publicly stated whether he’ll run again. Top Republicans, however, say they wouldn’t be surprised if Steele decides against a re-election effort.

Coleman, who lost re-election to the U.S. Senate in 2008 by only several hundred votes after a lengthy recount, elaborated on his thinking: “Michael Steele is a friend. He has been for many years. I’m not going to run against the chairman.”

But he refused to rule out running in the case Steele doesn’t.

“I’m not in a position to speculate what-if-he-doesn’t,” Coleman said. “At that point, it becomes speculation.”

Former Minnesota Republican Rep. Vin Weber, who said he’s spoken with Coleman about the chairmanship contest, thinks the former senator is “very interested” in running.

“I think Norm would be a great RNC chairman and I think if the party wanted him, he’d absolutely run for it,” Weber said. “I’m not convinced he’s going to make a run for it though.”

Weber added that he thinks it would take “some expression of interest from within the RNC” and a clear desire for him to take over the committee before Coleman would commit to running.

Coleman is now serving as the CEO of both the American Action Network and its sister organization, the American Action Forum.

The long list of those thinking of running, or mentioned as possible candidates, also includes: former Michigan GOP chairman Saul Anuzis; former Bush administration official Maria Cino; Wisconsin GOP chairman Reince Priebus; former RNC chairman Mike Duncan; former ambassador Ann Wagner; former Steele aide Gentry Collins; Mississippi GOP committeeman Henry Barbour; RGA executive director Nick Ayers; Connecticut GOP chairman Chris Healy and California GOP chairman Ron Nehring.