The Campaign Spot

A Committee Flush With Cash — For Now

Michael Steele and his team held a conference call with all 168 RNC members today. A state party chairman who preferred another candidate in the RNC Chair race summarizes, “the call went well, although really, it’s not the kind of call that could have gone anything but well. When you have access to the mute button, you don’t lose control of the call.”

The RNC begins this cycle with $22 million in the bank, an extraordinary asset for a national committee after two tough cycles. The committee of the minority party almost always ends a cycle in debt, so the sum is a major accomplishment of Steele’s predecessor, Mike Duncan. (For contrast, the DNC was left with $15 million in debt last cycle.)

“Lessons have been learned, and Michael Steele has a chance to be a tremendous chairman,” said this state party chair, who said that he didn’t want to talk in detail about the members-only call. “Corrections will be made . . . Once you hire some people, the worries about empty slots in the organization become old news. I think you’ll see these positions getting filled in the next two to three weeks, Steele will do the regional chairs’ meeting in May, and the feeling will be that they’ve healed most wounds.”

However, the state chairman was worried about long-term fallout from Steele’s tiff with Rush Limbaugh.

“A tremendous number of Rush’s listeners are GOP donors, and they’re fragile donors. Will they come back? The worst thing Rush did is speculate that his listeners wouldn’t donate. That was a huge signal [to listeners]. That was damaging to us, and that’s the real carnage from that fight, not Michael Steele’s reputation.”

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