October 29th, 2009
03:33 PM ET
4 years ago

Steele: Virginia a 'blueprint' for GOP success

Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele isn't predicting victory yet in the Virginia and New Jersey governor's races.
Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele isn't predicting victory yet in the Virginia and New Jersey governor's races.

Washington (CNN) – Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele isn't predicting victory yet in the Virginia and New Jersey governor's races, but in Virginia - a race Republicans look poised to win - he sees a "blueprint" for GOP success in 2010.

"You dont win until the last vote is counted," Steele told CNN by phone during a campaign swing in southern Virginia with Republican candidate Bob McDonnell. "We failed in the past by assuming too much. The only thing I am assuming is there is much more to do."

Steele said that while Virginia and New Jersey are very different states requiring different "messaging styles," the gubernatorial races have provided the RNC with a way to "test the waters" before next year's midterm elections. He said the party has been trying out new strategies in both races "in terms of resources we put on the ground, in providing ground support or air support, on the Internet, on television, phones, things like that."

As McDonnell has surged to a lead in Virginia polls over his Democratic rival Creigh Deeds, national Republicans have described his campaign - in which he focused on job creation and downplayed his conservative positions on social issues - as a blueprint for future GOP victories. Asked what specifically in McDonnell's approach represents a way forward for the party, Steele praised the Republican for focusing on issues relevant to middle-class voters while staying true to conservative economic principles.


"If you have just lost your home, are you going to pin someone down on where they are on social issues not relevant to you getting your home back?," Steele asked. "Candidates have to understand what people are valuing at the moment. They don't need to go around and beat their chests about social issues. The liberal media would like us to do that, the Washington Post would like us to do that, but the people don't. The blueprint is one of talking about who you are and what you believe and making it relevant to people."

"All the rest of the issues take care of themselves in time," he said. "Right now America is focused on the economy."


Filed under: Bob McDonnell • Creigh Deeds • Michael Steele • New Jersey • Virginia
soundoff (63 Responses)
  1. Jake

    "GOP success?"

    is that a punchline? where's the rest of the joke?

    October 29, 2009 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  2. ICARE

    Yes, if you like to keep voting for people that loved offshoring your jobs, vote ELEPHANT.

    Yes, if you love to borrow trilions of dollars to pay for undecided war, vote ELEPHANT.

    Yes, if you love tax cuts, although we cant afford a tax cut, vote ELEPAHTN.

    Yes, if you love to see Scrooge take over America, vote ELEPHANTS.

    Eight years was not enough, you want more of the same fat elepahtns, go ahead.

    October 29, 2009 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  3. Randolph Carter, I'm no anorak, but....

    "You dont win until the last vote is counted," Steele told CNN by phone....

    I thought you didn't win until the supreme court says so. Have a nice day!

    October 29, 2009 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  4. SMSgt

    God help the GOP they are working for all people that includes US Military men, fathers, mothers, and working family's

    October 29, 2009 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  5. Terry

    The Republicans aren't winning in Virginia, the Democrats are just losing. Why? Because they're running the lousiest candidate in modern history. I *always* vote D, but not this time. I plan to write in my vote. Deeds' should not be rewarded for trying to run to the right – a strategy that has proven itself time and time again to be a LOSING one for Democrats.

    October 29, 2009 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  6. George

    Not gonna happen. Steele, you and your party are losers.

    October 29, 2009 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  7. mark in atlanta

    Steele's formula for success? Run against really weak candidates who distance themselves from Obama. Good luck with that, Michael.

    October 29, 2009 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  8. ThinkAgain

    There you have it, folks: The Republican strategy. They know their policies are proven failures; they see that their conservative social "values" only sew division, fear and hatred. How to snooker the electorate into voting the GOP back into power?

    Pretend to give a rip about middle-class voters; get voted into office, and then

    - resume pushing economic policies that help only the wealthy while gutting the Middle Class

    - push a conservative social agenda to satisfy the "base" of intolerant Christian Taliban who want nothing more than to control everyone's private life while making tons of money.

    Same lies; same failed policies; same intolerance; new brand!

    October 29, 2009 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  9. Fair is Fair

    Thank you, Mr. Steele, for your tireless efforts to rejuvinate conservatives. That's RIGHT – CONSERVATIVES – from all walks of life.

    October 29, 2009 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  10. George Bush - Worst President Ever

    Is this guy really that stupid? Virginia has been voting overwhelmingly for Republicans for years. It doesn't take much for a Republican to win in Virginia, and a winning Rebpublican campaign in Virginia doesn't give you a blueprint to win in other less Republican states. As far as New Jersey goes, the Republican candidate for governor had a big lead not too long ago. Now the polls have the race as a dead heat. How does this translate into a winning strategy?

    October 29, 2009 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  11. Obama is a Socialist

    Steel is the man..... Sit back liberals and watch how you're man Obama runs your party into the ground. It will take decades to fix the harm this man is doing to your part.

    October 29, 2009 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  12. FRANK, Las Vegas

    If I were Mr. Steele, I wouldn't be calling it a "Blueprint For GOP Success" until next week. The only poll that counts is the actual election ballots. I'm not saying that the current poll is wrong, but stranger things have happened. So if McDonnell does not win, Mr. Steele will once again look like an idiot.

    October 29, 2009 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  13. Phat Elvis

    oh geez you finally figured it out? what a moron.
    By the way, winning back a traditionally republican state is not a 'blueprint'.

    October 29, 2009 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  14. Philip Tanner

    "You don't win until the last vote is counted." Really, Mr Steele? Umh... 2000 Presidential Election, anyone?

    October 29, 2009 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  15. mary

    let them vote for the repub, they think they got it bad,just wait and see. why is the country in such a mess, huh, bush.

    October 29, 2009 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  16. T

    Well, if his only job upon being elected was to get your home back, then, yes, his social viewpoints wouldn't matter.

    But he's going to be the governor of a state. So, all his opinions, viewpoints and plans get lumped together; it's a package deal.

    October 29, 2009 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  17. Hot Dog

    This guy is a first class clown. What about the mess that the GOP is having in the 29th District in upper New York?

    October 29, 2009 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  18. The Lonely Libertarian of Liverpool NY

    When the GOP wins America looses!
    Same is true when a Democrat wins, the American citizen looses. The only winners will be the Wall Street bankers, unions, lobbyists, special interest groups, the top 5% of the wealthy and PACs.
    Wake up American voters, this is a republic ( Remember for the Republic for which it stands) we do not need a ruling class of nobles pretending to represent the people, we need regular people representing us, we need someone who has worked so hard all their life they know what blisters are.
    In the words of William Wallace "Freedom"!

    October 29, 2009 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  19. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    The governor races are going to be split. NJ will go with Corzine. I think that history will continue, and a Republican will win VA. I just hope that everyone votes.

    October 29, 2009 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  20. lovable liberal

    Shorter Steele: "GOPers can win if they hide how insane they are."

    October 29, 2009 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  21. Torin from Georgia

    The only thing that Republicans will confirm with McDonnell's candidacy for Governor in Virginia in 2009 is that he will receive an overwhelming majority of white votes and very few minority votes. If Michael Steele thinks this is good, then he and the Republican Party will definitely face defeat in 2012. In the off-year election in 2010, there will be fewer minority voters. But in 2012, during Obama's re-election year, Republicans will be trounced again because they appeal primarily to white male voters.

    October 29, 2009 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  22. Msdp

    My heart goes out to the people in Virgina and New Jersey who have obviously fell a sleep. You are trusting the GOP again. They let you down once, and believe me they will let you down again. New Jersey nor Virgina are paying attention. Please look at the facts and be careful when voting and remember the GOP Party is a party of lies, lies and more lies. They profess the love of GOD and perfer to go to war instead of help their own country and the people in their country.

    October 29, 2009 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  23. Jann in Denver

    Dream on dumb dumb.

    October 29, 2009 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  24. simp

    Steel is one person I have no respect for. He is token and a coward and he needs to be a republician because he is the make up of one. Loser.

    October 29, 2009 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  25. GOPer

    So, Steele suggests voters should just allow GOPers to sweep their socially fundamentalist nonsense under the rug so that it comes out in the form of suppression against women and other good Americans later?! Thanks but no thanks.

    That is the same ole disastrous strategy from the past 8 years.

    What a joke.

    October 29, 2009 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
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