Kansas City, Missouri (CNN) – Norm Coleman will no longer be attending the Republican National Committee’s summer meeting in Kansas City, an aide to the former Minnesota Senator told CNN Tuesday.
Coleman spokeswoman Liz Maruggi did not cite a reason for the change in plans.
His decision to stay away from the meeting could be a sign that Coleman is trying to tamp down chatter about a possible challenge to chairman Michael Steele, after his early jockeying irked some RNC members.
Coleman’s potential campaign for the chairmanship was floated late last month in a Politico article that quoted a Coleman confidante relaying the former Senator’s “strong and growing interest” in the RNC job.
Coleman had also scheduled the trip to Kansas City to attend a reception for a friend, longtime New Jersey committeeman David Norcross, who is departing his post.
The trip, though, was also seen as an opportunity for Coleman to network with committee members who will decide early next year whether or not to re-elect Steele. "People can have dual motives," Norcross told CNN after the trip was first reported.
The day after the Politico article appeared, Coleman fanned the flames by going on CNN and criticizing Steele’s handling of committee finances while also avoiding questions about his interest in becoming party chairman.
But despite ongoing Republican discomfort with Steele and his handling of the RNC’s diminishing war chest, multiple committee members were privately turned off by Coleman’s moves, coming months before voters head to the polls for the midterm elections.
“Members of the committee want to see the focus on the elections and not somebody positioning for a race that’s after November,” one committee member told CNN Tuesday. “He would not have been well served to come. He is wise to stay focused on the right elections.”
Coleman is currently running the American Action Network, an independent group raising money and crafting strategy for Republican midterm candidates.