Washington (CNN) – Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele is taking steps to run for another two-year term and outlined his plan in a conference call last week to a handful of state GOP officials, three Republicans familiar with call tell CNN.
Steele, who wraps up a 48 state bus tour this week, already has picked two current RNC staffers to help run his re-election campaign and the chairman told people on the call that the reception he has received during the bus tour is tremendous, according to one of the Republicans. The Republicans spoke about the call only on the condition of anonymity.
Steele, who was elected chairman in January 2009, has had a rocky tenure as head of the national party. Republicans scored some major wins over the past 22 months such as taking back control of governorships in New Jersey and Virginia and winning the special election to fill the late Massachusetts Sen. Edward Kennedy's seat. And the GOP is expected to score some big wins on Nov. 2.
But Steele, a former Maryland lieutenant governor, has also been accused by his critics of mismanagement, failing in fundraising and making comments that have been considered a distraction to the party.
One of the Republicans familiar with the call said Steele mentioned that Neil Alpert, who works in the RNC's finance department, and Christopher Carroll, deputy director of state and local government affairs for the committee, will take roles in the re-election campaign.
Steele would need to secure the support of 85 RNC members to win another term – half of the 168 people who make up the committee.
"Members on the call were shocked that he had already made his decision to run without consulting them and of course they thought the timing was a mistake," said one of the Republicans.
An RNC spokesperson said the committee is focusing all of its efforts on next week's midterm elections.
"The efforts of the Republican National Committee continue to be focused on a victory November 2nd," said the RNC spokesperson. When pressed about the conference call, the spokesperson referred back to the earlier statement.