(CNN) – Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele is crediting grassroots efforts and the involvement of state Republican Parties with fueling major GOP gains across the country, just hours after Republicans gained control of the House of Representatives in the midterm elections.
"It has been a long time coming since we've had this taste of victory in our mouths," Steele said in a conference call with reporters, adding that Republicans were "humbled" by the opportunity to govern again.
Asked whether the GOP gains were a result of the anger of voters or a genuine desire to return Republicans to power, Steele said it was less about voters thinking "we're running back into the arms of the GOP" and more "we're going to give the GOP a second chance."
Steele said he was given warnings from voters that if the party did not stick to its tenets - reducing the deficit, limiting government and lowering taxes– they would be out of luck in 2012.
"I heard that all across the country, people saying, you know, you guys better not screw this up because you're next on the list if you do,” Steele said.
Elaborating on the sense that voters were frustrated with both parties in Washington, Steele spoke about his GOP strategy for reaching out to voters who were dissatisfied with the results the last time the Republicans were in power.
"I felt it in 2006 when I saw base Republicans go, I can't do this anymore, " Steele said and indicated that the premise for the 2010 strategy was to understand "how should we go about repairing the damage that's been done."
As for whether he thought the GOP's success would bolster his campaign should he decide to seek re-election as party chair, Steele avoided a direct answer.
"What happens going forward will happen," he said.