Anuzis Ready for ‘Grunt Work’

by Brian Bolduc

Saul Anuzis, former chairman of the Michigan Republican Party, tells National Review Online he’s ready to do the “grunt work” as chairman of the Republican National Committee. Anuzis announced last week that he’s challenging current chairman Michael Steele for the post.

In his announcement, Anuzis promised to be “a nuts & bolts type of Chairman.” “Of course I will be happy to discuss politics and elections with the media,” he wrote, “but I won’t be competing with valuable airtime from the men and women on our ticket.” He also pledged to serve only one term.

Asked why, then, he wanted the job in the first place, Anuzis replies, “I think this is a very important time in our history. I think we have some very unique opportunities. Being part of electing a new president would be very important. The Senate is up. This is a very critical time for us. I think I have something to offer to the party and I’m going to make my case.”

The first thing Anuzis will do if elected is bring wayward donors back into the fold. “There are literally thousands of major donors who have left the party and haven’t given to us in some time,” he says. “Each of those demographics gives us opportunities — they all have friends; they all have acquaintances. I think we have a lot of very fundamental grunt work that needs to be done to reestablish trust between us and the previous donor base.”

The flight of donors from the RNC to third-party groups like Norm Coleman’s American Action Network is well documented. Although Anuzis wants to revive the RNC, he also wants to keep those outside groups alive. “I think [outside groups have] a very different type of donor base. The RNC cannot accept corporate dollars. . . . And we do a very different job. We’re one of the few committees that’s allowed to operate with campaigns,” Anuzis notes.

This is Anuzis’s second try at the chairmanship; he lost to Steele in 2009. What makes him think he’ll win this time? “It was a different time and people were looking for different types of leadership,” Anuzis reasons. “Michael Steele made the case that the party needed a spokesperson and I think at the time the folks agreed with that. This time I think the circumstances are different. I think we need a nuts-and-bolts person. I think the job definition is different and I think my job résumé better fits it this time around.”

You’ll be seeing a lot more of that résumé in the next few months.