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WHO WILL IT BE????......WHO WILL IT BE????......I think it's gonna be STEELE.....


Posted By Bobby Eberle On January 23, 2009 at 7:49 am

Since the Republican Revolution of 1994, the Republican Party has lost its way. It moved from the party of reformists and smaller government advocates to a group who embraced big spending and big government. The party is certainly at a crossroads, and the only way to get back on track is to bring in new leadership and return to our conservative roots.

The first part of that recipe -- bringing in new leadership -- begins in one week. Next Friday, members of the Republican National Committee will meet in Washington, DC to elect a new national chairman. This vote is vitally important because it will show Republicans around the country if the party is serious about changing directions and rejecting the status quo.

On January 30, the national committeemen, national committeewomen, and state chairmen of the fifty states and other territories will vote to determine the next party leadership. There are 168 votes, total, for this election. The six candidates are as follows:

Katon Dawson -- Current chairman of the South Carolina Republican Party.

Mike Duncan -- Current chairman of the Republican National Committee

Saul Anuzis -- Current chairman of Michigan Republican Party

Michael Steele -- Former Maryland lieutenant governor and current chairman of GOPAC

Ken Blackwell -- Former Ohio secretary of state

Chip Saltsman -- Former chairman of the Tennessee Republican Party and former campaign manager for Mike Huckabee's presidential campaign

The campaign for chairman has been lively, and perceptions of the "front runners" has changed since the beginning of the campaign. At the outset, incumbent RNC Chairman Mike Duncan and former Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael Steele were the favorites for the job. However, as the campaign has worn on, much has changed.

As noted in a Dallas Morning News column, the selection of the next chairman is "often the first clue to its future direction." Author Carl Leubsdorf writes of the former front-runners:

Steele, an attractive spokesman during four years as lieutenant governor in heavily Democratic Maryland, would provide a good counterpart to President Obama. But his election might be hampered by fears he is a closet moderate.

An unexpected factor has been Duncan's spirited bid to retain the chairmanship. He has been a good fundraiser, but even some backers concede he isn't the best spokesman. Besides, his retention might signify status quo after an election that saw significant GOP defeats at all levels.

Despite losing in his bid for Ohio governor in 2006 with only 37% of the vote, Ken Blackwell has attracted key conservative support from outside the national committee. People such as Steve Forbes, James Dobson, and Tony Perkins have endorsed Blackwell. He is certainly conservative. There is no doubt about that, and as GOPUSA readers know, so am I. I believe the RNC needs to get back to the conservative principles that have guided us to victory in the past. However, being a conservative does not necessarily make one a great leader or organizer. Blackwell's performance in the candidate debate along with feedback from many RNC members indicates that running the national party may not be the right fit.

As Amanda Carpenter writes in a Townhall column, Michael Steele has announced a "GOP Tech Plan" to compete with the Democrats "in the online arena of social networking, fundraising, and communication." Revamping the communications area is vital. With more avenues available for activists to share information with each other, the Republican Party must take advantage of these technologies and use them to get the message out. The key is "what is the message?" Social networking and fundraising are useless if we are spreading a moderate message of Democrat-lite. We don't need any more big government programs and spending like we've had over the last 8 years.

The candidate who has done the most moving since the race began is South Carolina State Chairman Katon Dawson. His record, performance in the debate, and follow-up interviews have vaulted him to the top tier of candidates.

In a recent letter, in which all three members of the Pennsylvania delegation endorsed Dawson, the delegation notes:

Katon knows that Democrat success this past November was due in no small part to their successful implementation of Howard Dean’s so-called 50-State Strategy. At the same time Democrats were organizing every state, we rested on our laurels and neglected areas of the country based on careless assumptions that we couldn’t win based on geography, demography or ideology. Where we failed to invest resources, we were unable to compete and unable to win. The result for the northeastern United States, where we have been active Republicans for so many years, has been disastrous. Today, we are sad to report that there are no Republicans representing our region in the United States Congress. But Katon Dawson will turn our fortunes around in parts of the country where Republicanism is stymied.

New RNC members have also lined up for Dawson. In a recent mailer to RNC members, the endorsers note that "as Party Chairman, Katon launched an unprecedented grassroots plan to identify and turn out Republican voters in record numbers. The results were historic. In each of the last four election cycles, the South Carolina Republican Party has won at least 80% of its races."

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