The Corner

Morton Blackwell’s Crystal Ball

Morton Blackwell, the Republican national committeeman for Virginia and president of the Leadership Institute, tells National Review Online he expects the next chairman of the RNC to be most members’ second choice.

The committee, Blackwell explains, “meets only twice a year — sometimes three times a year.” Its meetings are highly scripted, and its membership suffers high turnover, so “a majority of the members don’t know a majority of their fellow members.”

“There are a number of candidates who have support, and so the candidate who eventually wins is going to be the second choice of a lot of people,” says Blackwell, a supporter of former Michigan GOP chief Saul Anuzis. “I think Saul may have an advantage in that respect because he’s liked by a lot of members.”

The Virginian has another prediction: “I think it is likely that the committee will not elect a chairman who is not now or has not recently been a member of the RNC.” If true, it bodes ill for Maria Cino and Gentry Collins, two longtime political aides who have never sat on the committee.

Still, Blackwell hedges, “I’m cautious about crystal-ball gazing because I’ve observed that people who make their living crystal-ball gazing sometimes have to eat ground glass.”

Blackwell says he has “given no thought to who a second choice for me would be.” The other Virginians on the committee, Pat Mullins and Kathy Terry, have yet to endorse candidates. Asked whether his fellow residents of the Old Dominion have preferred candidates, Blackwell wryly observes, “They are very good friends of mine. You may interpret that any way you wish.”

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