The Campaign Spot

Who’s the Next RNC Chairman? Not Gentry Collins.

Later today, I’ll be at the National Press Club, watching the candidates for RNC chairman in their second debate:

All of the declared candidates for the Chairmanship of the Republican National Committee (RNC) have confirmed their participation in the Monday, Jan. 3 debate hosted by Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) and The Daily Caller. C-SPAN will be providing live coverage of the debate.

The 90-minute debate, moderated by Grover Norquist of ATR and Tucker Carlson of The Daily Caller, will begin at 1:00 p.m. in the Ballroom of the National Press Club. The event is co-sponsored by the Susan B. Anthony List.

Members of the public are invited to visit the official debate website — RNCdebate.org — in order to submit and vote on questions they would like the candidates to answer.

This is the second debate of the aspiring RNC chairmen, and yet only half the candidates at the last debate will be on stage today. Former RNC chair Mike Duncan withdrew from the race in mid-December; and former RNC political director Gentry Collins withdrew yesterday, telling Politico that he couldn’t get support because RNC members preferred to have “one of their own” as the new chairman. (Ann Wagner and Saul Anuzis participated in the last one.) There was some talk about whether RNC members would vote for a chair who wasn’t “one of their own” last cycle; obviously, a majority was willing to pick non–RNC member Michael Steele over then-RNC-member Katon Dawson. Of course, since then, the members may feel once bitten, twice shy.

The remaining field includes two current RNC members (Wisconsin GOP chair Reince Priebus and Anuzis, who is one of the three from Michigan) and a former member (Wagner chaired Missouri’s state GOP until 2005).* Maria Cino, a former Bush administration official and organizer of the 2008 GOP convention, was RNC deputy chair in the 2004 cycle.

Politico’s canvass of members finds 88 of the 168 RNC members opposing Steele and 55 saying they won’t vote to reelect him under any circumstances.

* I had a bit of confusion as to whether Anuzis is an RNC member; he’s no longer Michigan party chair, but is still a committeeman from that state.

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