Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele is in the crosshairs once again as several GOP governors said he should be ousted from his position.
At the Republican Governors Association meeting in San Diego on Nov. 18 , the governors of Mississippi, Texas and Minnesota all expressed a desire to remove Steele due to the mistakes he has made in the media and a perceived lack of political fundraising by the party.
In a five-page memo sent out to RNC members and reported on by several sources, Steele spoke of the success the party has seen under his leadership.
“I am happy to report that our efforts were an overwhelming success: because of the surge in grass roots support for the GOP, over 44 million voters turned out to cast ballots for Republican candidates in 2010,” Steele wrote. “That number is, by a huge margin, the highest midterm turnout for any party in any midterm election in U.S. history.”
However, the Republican governors and others in the party disagree.
“Everyone is basically working around him,” former GOP Rep. Vin Weber of Minnesota said in a recent interview with the AFRO. “Republicans have sort of put together a mode of operation for this election cycle that does not put the RNC chairman in a central role. That’s not the optimal way of handling things. But in a very strange way that gives him some protection because there’s no urgency to replace him—no matter how grave of a misstep he made.”
Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour was even more blunt with Politico: “I like Michael Steele. I have worked to support Michael in the committee while he’s been chairman,” Barbour told POLITICO. “But it’s clear to me that we need a change for the next election cycle.”
But Raynard Jackson, a Republican political strategist and an African American, said those seeking to remove Steele need to consider his entire record.
“With Michael, you can make all the arguments you want but during his tenure, picked up governors’ races, we picked up House races and we picked up Senate races,” Jackson said. “Michael rightfully can say, without apologizing to anyone, ‘This happened under my chairmanship and I should be recognized and rewarded for it.’”
Republican colleagues have repeatedly criticized Steele over comments he made about the war in Afghanistan, comments he made about Arizona’s immigration law, and a book he released without input from GOP leaders.