RNC chairman candidates to face Tea Party scrutiny

Alex Pappas Political Reporter
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Those running — or considering mounting a challenge — for the chairmanship of the Republican National Committee will face Tea Party scrutiny this week.

Representatives from FreedomWorks, a group that’s been a major player in organizing activists within the Tea Party movement, will question some candidates during a two-hour event on Wednesday.

According to an organizer of the event, former Michigan GOP chairman Saul Anuzis, Connecticut GOP chairman Chris Healy, former Missouri RNC committee member Ann Wagner and former Bush administration official Maria Cino are planning to participate. Others could still join, according to Soloman Yue, an RNC committee member from Oregon.

The forum was organized by the Conservative Steering Committee, a group of RNC committee members developed to verify the conservative bona fides of potential candidates for the chairmanship.

Current chairman Michael Steele, who has yet to disclose whether he’ll run for re-election, has not informed organizers whether he plans to participate in the forum. Organizers are still waiting to hear from former RNC aide Gentry Collins and Wisconsin GOP chairman Reince Priebus on whether they’ll take part.

FreedomWorks will invite Tea Party activists to watch a live feed of the interview from its website and judge the candidates based upon a list of criteria, Yue said.

This list of 13 points to judge candidates on was developed by the Republican National Conservative Caucus and the Conservative Steering Committee. It includes criteria such as whether the candidate has “appreciation and support” for social, fiscal and foreign policy conservatives; solid support for the “conservative principles expressed in the Party Platform;” and the “highest ethical standard of behavior in the Judeo-Christian tradition as demonstrated by reputation both private and public.”

Organizers have extended the invitation to any person who is considering running for chairman.

The Conservative Steering Committee also plans to privately interview candidates this week, Yue said.