Allen Weh, the chairman of the New Mexico Republican Party, says that after two difficult cycles in which he learned that “politics in this state was like a knife fight in a phone booth,” he is endorsing Katon Dawson for RNC chairman.
Fellow RNC members:
In a few short weeks we have to elect someone to help lead us “out of the wilderness.” Many of you know better than I, the chairman’s job requires even more skills when a political party doesn’t have the leverage and top cover provided by a White House held by the same party. So here we are with an enormous challenge ahead of us, but wonderful opportunities as well. I’d hope we approach our task from the latter standpoint, and elect someone to the chairmanship that not only has the requisite skills, but the experience and knowledge of successful party operations, and an intangible “can-do” attitude that will ignite and motivate the thousands of Republicans, and many more people that we’d like to become Republicans, to join our cause. That takes a special person at, what very few of should disagree is, a critical point in our nation’s political evolvement in a complicated world becoming increasingly interdependent.
For some of you that don’t know me well I’ve been the state chairman from New Mexico (for those that aren’t up to speed on their geography that’s in-between Texas and Arizona) for 4½ long years that included two of the worst election cycles for the GOP in decades. As many of you know, New Mexico is one of the so-called “battleground states.” Believe me, we deserve that moniker. When I got talked into doing this, never having been in party politics before in my life, I quickly learned politics in this state was like a knife fight in a phone booth. That’s OK, one learns to adapt and learn political combat skills real quick if you want to win. Under the circumstances, including having to contend with a heavy handed ambitious Democrat governor, we’ve done OK, but for the most part we’ve had to figure it out for ourselves.
This leads me to offer a perspective on what the RNC can do a little bit better. It would be helpful if new Chairman are invited (strongly encouraged) to attend an RNC sponsored workshop specifically tailored for new chairmen. If the grass roots are important than the state leaders need to at least be taught what is expected of them. I didn’t need, nor care, that the national chairman visit our state, but it sure would’ve been nice to have received some “Chairman 101″ in the first few months from some of the seasoned pros. Unlike some who propose that the RNC pass money down to the state parties, I believe it’s a state chairman’s job to raise money for their respective states, and not rely on RNC to do their homework – Victory operations excepted! However, I do expect the RNC to spend its money wisely and without conflicts of interest, and that’s something we should all agree on. I might also add that when the RNC meets it needs to do more than just have a choreographed “photo op,” which is a waste of money and people’s time. Most new members leave those meetings singing Peggy Lee’s old song “is that all there is.”
We will, in all probability, elect our chairman from within the existing committee in accordance with the RNC’s rules. As long as we’ve got members who can carry that water pail, and we do, there are zero reasons to seek an outside candidate and a majority of us aren’t going to vote to amend this rule. Especially when we need a proven chairman that can hit the ground running on January 30th.
For all these reasons, and a few more I’m pleased to discuss, I’m endorsing Katon Dawson of South Carolina!
We really do need a fresh face after 2008 (several others meet this requirement); he’s a proven fundraiser (a few others meet this requirement); he’s been a state chairman (not a prerequisite, but very helpful and several candidates meet this requirement); He has proven communications skills that were clearly demonstrated when his state hosted two successful presidential campaign events (a few others meet this requirement); he’s effected significant political change in his state resulting in increased GOP control (very few of our candidates meet this requirement); and he’s managed money and budgets – he’s run a state party with a lot of money AND run a successful business where he’s had to make a profit and cover a payroll (very few of our candidates meet this requirement – and our automakers certainly don’t). We have some very good men running for this post, but we can well use all of the experience I’ve mentioned above. Katon has worked hard for his party, and has the accomplishments to show for it. I’m absolutely confident he’ll lead this party with distinction and deliver the results we all want and expect. Please give him your first consideration.
Allen E. Weh
Chairman, New Mexico