November 24th, 2008
11:15 AM ET
14 years ago

South Carolinian joins race for Republican Party chair

WASHINGTON (CNN) – South Carolina Republican Party Chairman Katon Dawson told supporters Monday he will seek the chairmanship of the Republican National Committee, pledging to help rebuild the party after devastating losses on Election Day.

CNN’s Short List: The next RNC chair

Three weeks ago, Democrats gained control of the White House after eight years of Republican rule, and won at least 20 additional House seats and at least seven Senate seats to add to their majorities in both chambers. Democrats are now two seats shy of securing a filibuster-proof majority of 60 seats in the Senate. That result which will be determined when the winners of the Georgia and Minnesota Senate races are called next month.

“I am running to serve as chairman of the Republican National Committee because I’m ready to help lead our party’s turnaround,” Dawson said in a prepared statement. “We need to turn around our fortunes in many regions of the country. We need to turn around our grassroots organization, our fundraising, our use of technology and new media, and our candidate recruitment. We must move forward with the confidence that our message of optimism, hope, and freedom still resonates in the hearts of our fellow Americans.”

Dawson told CNN Sunday afternoon he would formally declare his candidacy on Monday.

In his Monday statement, he touted his “aggressive” approach to fundraising, and Republican success in maintaining control of political offices in his state. He also noted that Republicans “made outreach to non-traditional Republican voters a priority” specifically the state GOP’s selection of an African-American to serve as an RNC member and the election of a black Republican to the General Assembly. Diversifying the Republican Party is a hot topic of discussion - one of Dawson’s rivals for the nomination is former Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael Steele, who is African-American.

Filed under: RNC
soundoff (41 Responses)
  1. happy thanksgiving

    it's time to vote all republicans out of office.

    November 24, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  2. brenda

    luke brown,
    its not the republicans that are to blame. the dems are infamous for their take on education, housing and the like. these programs are bad for several reasons, most of which lie with the people themselves. stop blaming a political party for schools that dont hold a candle to others and stop blaming high crime rates on a political party when it is individual people responsible for that. i could on but you can see where i am coming from. blame yourself for the part that you did not play in holding schools and others accountable. stop complianing and do something about it. how bout if we stop paying teachers who do a bad job at teaching? dems wont stand for it so if your kid gets a bad education, blame yourself, the teachers and the dem party. duh.

    November 24, 2008 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  3. TEX ANN ~~~~~~~~~~~

    I really wish BOTH parties would get over this name calling. Being a Democrat doesn't make you a "bleeding heart liberal" just as being a Republican doesn't necessarily make you a "far right wingnut". There are some "factions" in both parties that could stand a little dressing down.

    Bottom line- aren't we ALL Americans??? Aren't we ALL human beings??? Don't we ALL want pretty much the same things for ourselves & our families– prosperity, safety, good health, a good education, etc??? So-

    November 24, 2008 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  4. Angie

    Choose someone Moderate the Far right Religious will never get you back the GOP Will be dead for decades!

    November 24, 2008 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  5. Milhouse van Houten

    Who in their right mind would actually want the job?Rebuilding the GOP would be akin to re-floating the Titanic.

    November 24, 2008 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  6. mark

    I appaud the efforts of the republican party to restore the conservative principles to the party. Already Obama is backing away from his campaign promises and becoming just another political hack...

    November 24, 2008 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  7. Gary

    Hey Luke, I tried but I guess I'm a minority here. The sad part is these idiots voted again for Graham and he hardley campained.
    I agree with all you said except the dangerous roads and bridges, It should be the most dangerous drivers. They have a total lack of drivers education and no traffic enforcement. Just living here for 3 years and I see why it is so screwed up.
    The state is run by Republicans, but they are busy chasing John Mccain around the country. Hopefully nothing Repub and nothing S.C. in DC

    November 24, 2008 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  8. chuck

    Another MORAN wants to lead the DUMB and DUMBER. There is NO such thing like the RNC ANYMORE. Why? your answer- Gone with the WIND.

    November 24, 2008 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  9. Steven


    Remember to vote for Jim Martin for Senate!

    Early voting is today, tomorrow, and Wednesday. Election day is December 2nd.

    I cast my vote today; the line was not very Democrat friendly. Get out your vote to help us on our way to a filibuster-proof majority!

    November 24, 2008 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  10. Texas Trail Kitty

    Wow, someone who WANTS to be captain of the Titanic. Rearrange those deck chairs and carry on!

    November 24, 2008 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  11. Peter (CA)

    If the Republicans really want to show change, they will vote for Steele.
    Imagine a black man in charge of the RNC! That would show that Republicans may actually be willing to reach out to others.

    So, what do you say Republicans, up for the challenge?

    November 24, 2008 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  12. Locutus of Borg

    I believe Cobra Commander would be an excellent choice.

    November 24, 2008 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  13. RJS III

    Great, I can't accept this proposal because it's par for the course, not a promise of change for the Republican Party. The Republican Party needs to readjust its policy preferences in order to meet a greater threshold of voters. Dawson has been the embodiment of resistance to change - indeed, a regressive vision - and not a torch-bearer exploring new paths through bipartisan offerings in the name of what's right for this country, not what magnifies the overzealous ideology of the far right. Has he considered the notion of "tolerance" lately?

    I find it very humorous that the Republican Party is stuck on conservatism (unwillingness to change) when it is of utmost importance that they stray from that and innovate new ideas befitting of America's challenges. President-elect Obama is already beating them to the chase by promising cuts in excess government and realigning policies to better suit the needs of the American people and the American dream - a mesh of broad performance-based and need-based line-item changes. The [proven false] stance of the Republican Party, which translates to spend-more-tax-less-pray-for-no-bankruptcy-or-budgeting-fights-while-fooling-citizens-into-thinking-it's-progress, obviously fools enough citizens but not enough to win a Presidential election. The Republican Party needs to be realistic; if they are staunchly anti-central government, perhaps they should reinvoke the Articles of Confederation. I'll be sure not to support such decentralization as our national security and interest preclude the very thought the budget shortfalls that would follow.

    –Your Conservative Democrat Friend from Virginia
    (Publius 2008)

    November 24, 2008 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  14. Sig, Los Angeles CA

    The take the Republicans haven't learned a darn thing. Oh well, that is good news for Dems.

    November 24, 2008 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  15. Paul DObro

    So the guy looking to lead the RNC just quit (after 18 years) being a member of the Forest Lake Country Club which does not allow black members????? And this will help rebuild the RNC name?

    Or are the no members of the GOP that are not corrupt or racist?

    November 24, 2008 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  16. Joan of Argghh!

    I swear, I'm gonna throw my hat in the ring. At least I have new ideas. They might be bad ideas, but they're new and different and can generate better ideas.

    The RNC is a joke and Michael Steele is a D.C. Bubble Politician. Lots of words, no concrete plans except for more gov't programs. I guess that's the new way of politics.

    November 24, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
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