The Campaign Spot

A Strange Race, Where Winning the Room May Not Really Mean Victory

Before today, the GOP had never held a debate among candidates to be chairman of the party.

As interesting as today’s events were, you might say they still haven’t.

The common phrase afterward was that no one hit any home runs, and there’s little evidence that anyone suffered a terrible setback to his hopes. It was an interesting series of questions to the six men on stage, but there were no real fireworks, no back-and-forth between the candidates, very few serious disagreements, and little variation in their assessments of where the Republican Party has gone wrong.

It’s worth noting that despite the primary-campaign-like setup, the “STEELE: RNC Chairman” posters lining both balconies, the omnipresent stickers and campaign-like brochures distributed to the media, the potential chairs didn’t need to win over the room as a whole. And the room had few truly undecided minds anyway; the National Press Club ballroom was packed to capacity with sometimes vocal supporters, some RNC members, press, and organizers from Americans for Tax Reform.

And the public at large is following this race in a quite different manner than RNC members are. One backer of one of the candidates said, “If he doesn’t put a stamp on it, the RNC members don’t see it” — meaning that RNC members aren’t following online articles, blogs, Twitter, etc.

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