[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/11/14/art.huckabee.jpg caption="Saltsman was Mike Huckabee's campaign manager."]
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Former Tennessee Republican Party Chairman Chip Saltsman will travel the country next week to meet with high-ranking Republicans as he considers a bid to be the next chairman of the Republican National Committee.
But don’t look for him running through any major airports. Instead, Saltsman will pilot his own plane – a Piper Arrow – which will allow him to touch down in small airports and avoid the inconveniences of commercial flying.
“I am looking forward to sitting down, face-to-face with as many members of the committee over the next couple of weeks and talk about the future of the party and how we can put together a winning formula for 2010,” said Saltsman, who gained acclaim for his role as Mike Huckabee’s campaign manager in the 2008 race for the GOP presidential nomination.
Saltsman, a businessman based in Nashville, has strong ties to former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist and is also known for his fundraising ability.
Two other Republicans have already officially declared their candidacies for the race for GOP chair: Michigan Republican Party Chairman Saul Anuzis and former Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael Steele.
Sen. John Sununu, a rising star in the GOP who was defeated in his re-election race last week, has not ruled out a possible bid to lead the committee.
“I really haven’t begun to consider any particular option, and certainly haven’t ruled anything out,” Sununu said in a statement. “Over the next few weeks, I will sit down with my family, weigh the opportunities, and begin making decisions about the future.”
The RNC meets in late January to choose the next chairman of the party. That person will be charged with helping to rebuild the Republican brand and put in place a political structure to not only take back Congress but win governor’s seats across the country as the nation prepares for redistricting.
See the full list of possible contenders for the RNC chairmanship.