November 14th, 2008
11:30 AM ET
10 years ago

RNC chair fundraises over election tampering worries


RNC Chairman Mike Duncan appeared on American Morning Friday.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - The man steering the Republican Party says he's concerned that Democrats may try to unfairly influence the Senate contest in Minnesota, which is headed towards a recount, and the Senate battle in Georgia, which is headed towards a runoff.

In a fundraising letter to supporters, Republican National Committee Chairman Mike Duncan charged that "the Obama-Biden Democrats and their liberal special interest allies are trying to steal these election victories from Republicans. They are pouring all their available resources into these campaigns. The Obama Campaign has tens of millions of dollars leftover that they are sure to dump into the Democrat challengers’ campaign coffers."

Duncan then made a pitch for donations, saying that "victory in these vital contests depends on our GOP candidates having the necessary resources for the recounts and runoffs they are facing, starting immediately."

Duncan was questioned by CNN American Morning anchor John Roberts Friday morning about his fundraising letter charges, especially the Minnesota race where the incumbent freshman Senator Norm Coleman is just 206 votes ahead of his Democratic challenger, Al Franken. “We have got to make sure there's not a thumb on the scale,” said Duncan. “We have to got to make sure that we have our people in the rooms making sure that it's a straight count. And that's what we're doing. We have deployed people up there (in Minnesota). We need resources to be able to do that. That recount is very close."

"I want to make sure that we're vigilant and we do not allow anyone to irregularly influence the outcome of this election and we have to have the resources to do that and we're asking people to help us do that."

Senator Charles Schumer (D-New York), Chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, dismisses such charges, saying that "the right wing machine has worked itself into a lather in a clear attempt to intimidate election officials from doing their job," adding that "they clearly want a repeat of the 2000 recount in Florida, when Republicans flooded into the state from all over the country and used threats and intimidation to stop another recount they were afraid wouldn't go their way."

On another matter, Duncan was non-committal about the possibility of a run for re-election as RNC chairman. "I don't know. My job is to continue this election,” he told Roberts. “We have the runoff in Georgia, we have the recount going in Minnesota, we have two elections that haven't been held yet in Louisiana. My first responsibility is to do my day job. After that I will make a decision.”

Asked about criticism of the GOP after its loss of the White House and seats in both chambers of Congress in last week's election, Duncan said that "the Republican Party has not lost its way," adding that "we have a deep bench in the Republican Party, and we have a lot of people who are interest in being RNC Chairman."

Former Maryland Lt. Governor Michael Steele threw his hat into the ring for the job Thursday. He's the second person to formally become a candidate, joining Michigan Republican Party Saul Anuzis.
The RNC is expected to hold its election for chairman in January.

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