Washington (CNN) - Why is Michael Steele going to Guam two months before election day?
The trip, announced Monday by Guam Governor Felix Camacho, has some members of the Republican National Committee scratching their heads - and it's a sign to critics that the chairman is more concerned about his own political fortunes than he is about re-taking majorities in Congress this November.
That's because members from the Island Territories - the Northern Mariana Islands, The Virgin Islands, Guam and American Samoa - gave Steele their decisive bloc of votes in January 2009, when he won the chairmanship on the sixth and final ballot in a tight race.
If the chairman is serious about running again, a likely prospect if his rousing address at the RNC summer meeting earlier this month was any indication, he will once again be counting on the same support from the islands, which do not have voting representation in Washington.
Steele appears to be shoring up island backing with his recent travel schedule.
The Guam trip on September 7 is part of a larger swing through Western states that will also include a visit to the Northern Marianas "to help raise money for candidates and local parties," said RNC spokesman Doug Heye.
Committee members also told CNN that Steele just concluded visits to Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, a Caribbean swing confirmed by Heye.
With the committee facing tough financial straits - the RNC had just $5 million in the bank entering August - the island travels are frustrating members of the committee who would rather see party resources spent on tight races that could actually impact control of the House and Senate.
"The idea of Steele traveling to Guam, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands with little more than 60 days left is outrageous, especially given our limited fundraising and political support to campaigns nationwide," one RNC member griped to CNN.