op-ed

Why I’m running for RNC chairman

Saul Anuzis Contributor

This is an exciting time to be a Republican, and we have an awesome task ahead of us. The American people have given us a “second chance.” That opportunity brings with it huge responsibilities and challenges. Now we turn our attention to 2012. America must elect a new president. It is that hope, that necessity, that challenge, that draws me to run for Chairman of the Republican National Committee.

I don’t take lightly the fact that I am challenging a friend and colleague for the chairmanship. When Michael was elected chairman, I was the only candidate who stepped forward to attend the next morning’s RNC breakfast meeting, agreed to join the transition team, and later took on several roles as a team player on the RNC…and have attended every meeting since.

Given my involvement and efforts to help over the past two years, it was not an easy decision for me to seek the post. As someone who believes in loyalty, my natural instinct would be to sit this out. But the simple fact is that the overriding challenge we face is winning back the presidency in 2012, and we will not accomplish that objective unless there is dramatic change in the way the RNC does business.

We cannot be misled by our victories this year. In 1994 we won the House and Senate yet just two years later Bill Clinton cruised to re-election. And we’ve seen in the past two years that public opinion can change with breathtaking speed.

We can’t rely on our wins in 2010 to carry us to success in 2012. We also can’t win in 2012 unless the RNC re-establishes itself as the powerful force that put us over the top in 2000 and 2004.

But to be a force, the RNC must change, and that requires new leadership at the top. I am offering the party an alternative, a choice, a different approach to the leadership and stewardship of our party.

Chairman Steele’s record speaks for itself. He and his team have one way of doing things. I have mine.

We will not win in 2012 if the RNC is not able to provide the financial resources we need to support the organizational efforts and ground games of our state parties. Without a fully funded Victory program, we will be overwhelmed by the efforts of the unions, the Obama campaign and all their allies.

Even though we won an overall victory in 2010, we lost some heartbreaking statewide races in places like Illinois, Colorado, West Virginia, Washington and Nevada, and in countless congressional and legislative districts, because the other side had a better turnout effort.

Think about your own state. Did some terrific Republican candidate work their hearts out, yet fall short by a handful of votes on Election Day? Now ask yourself: If the RNC had properly funded the Victory program in your state, would that candidate have been a winner? Would that candidate have benefited from a robust 72-hour program with ground troops sweeping in for the final weekend?

Thankfully, in 2010 a group of alternative organizations emerged to help fill the void created by the RNC’s shortage of resources. They found support from many RNC major donors who had lost faith in the RNC. We need these groups and their support, but they can’t be expected to replace the RNC in a presidential year. We must rebuild the trust with our party’s major donors and bring them back to the table.

My philosophy of how the National Committee should be run is simple: to use a football analogy, I believe we should do the “blocking and tackling” for the candidates.

Today, we have many great potential candidates emerging as leaders of our country and our party. Members of Congress, senators and governors now represent the “face” of the Republican Party. As our elected representatives, it is their job to set the public policy agenda.

As party leaders and grassroots activists, it is our job to make the calls, knock on the doors, organize our states and precincts and, most importantly, raise the money to help elect Republicans.

We saw this plan work in Michigan this year. By raising the necessary funds and giving local parties the tools they needed, the Michigan Republican Party created an environment where our slate of great candidates cruised to victory, winning every statewide office, taking back the state house and state supreme court, increasing our majority in the state senate and increasing our congressional delegation by two seats.

My agenda is very straightforward. I have no interest in running for office. I won’t be writing a book. It is not my goal to be famous. However, you’ll be hard-pressed to find anyone who will work harder, more diligently and be more committed to electing Republicans from the top to every township and city across this great country of ours.

Our Republican Party has a proud history as the Grand Old Party, but we have an even brighter future as the Grand Opportunity Party that leads us into the 21st century with innovative solutions based on our proven principles.

In 2012 one of two things will happen. We will either win back the Senate and White House and set America on the right path forward, or we will squander this opportunity and allow President Obama to continue moving our nation to the left, to an era of unprecedented government growth and intrusion into our lives.

If you believe that what we have seen at the RNC over the past two years is good enough to provide us with a victory in 2012, then by all means you should stick with our current leadership and direction.

But if you agree with me that victory in 2012 requires a new set of priorities and new leadership, I hope you will consider supporting my candidacy for RNC chairman.

Saul Anuzis is a GOP national committeeman from Michigan and a candidate for RNC chair.