This afternoon, there will be a debate among the candidates for the Republican National Committee Chair, including the incumbent, Michael Steele, at the National Press Club. This debate is sponsored by The Daily Caller and Americans for Tax Reform. The questioners will be the respective leaders of these two organizati0ons, Tucker Carlson and Grover Norquist.
Normally, in light of the GOP electoral gains in November, Steele would easily win re-election to his post. However, his missteps have been well documented. Perhaps the most infamous example was when he authorized RNC to fund the expenses of an evening of fun at a bondage strip club. He also authorized exorbitant spending for his ‘personal assistant’, her family and friends. Budgeting for the RNC has also been problematic during Steele’s tenure. These actions, as well as a number of his statements have not been well-regarded by the other party elders, and have made it relatively unlikely that he will retain his position.
The RNC Chairmanship is considered to be important since the Chair will be responsible for determining where and when debates will be held for the presidential contenders. He also will have to decide how to get the Tea Party to remain within the GOP fold, rather than threatening the equilibrium of the political party. Although interest groups can advertise on television and build enthusiasm, generally it is the job of the national committee to get out the vote.
Candidates seeking the position and expected to attend the debate are Saul Anuzis, Ann Wagner, Maria Cino, Reince Priebus, and Steele himself. Anuzis is currently a committeema from Wisconsin, and has made one of his primary campaign planks that he has the ability to get big donors to provide money to the RNC. Wagner previously was Ambassador to Luxemburg; her main campaign theme has been targeting Steele. Cino was Transportation Secretary under President Bush; her main plank is to repair the financial aspects of the RNC. Priebus was an assistant to Steele until a month ago. At that time, he resigned and immediately announced that he was challenging his boss.
The debate can be viewed at 1:00 eastern time at the Daily Caller here.