December 16th, 2008
07:00 PM ET
14 years ago

Blackwell and Benkiser look to lead the RNC

WASHINGTON (CNN) – Former Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell and Texas Republican Party Chair Tina Benkiser announced Tuesday they will run on the same ticket in the race to head the Republican National Committee.

Blackwell would serve as chair and Benkiser would be the co-chair, according to letters sent to RNC members. The RNC will convene next month to select the new leader of the national party.

Full letters after the jump

Dear RNC Member,

Today we are very pleased to make the most important announcement of the campaign for RNC Chairman. I am pleased to announce that I will be running with Texas GOP Chairman Tina Benkiser as a ticket for the positions of Chairman and Co-Chairman of the Republican National Committee, respectively.

I wholeheartedly endorse her candidacy for Co-Chairman and thank her for her support.

This is clearly exciting news for our campaign. I am ever more excited about the potential to work with Tina to lead our party to victory in 2010. She has been one of the very best state party chairmen in the country and has the values and principles that we need in party leadership. She offers a vital perspective of what state party organizations across the country need from the RNC in order to best help you succeed.

I am thrilled at the prospect of working with her to rebuild our Republican Party. Please take a moment of your time to read this important letter from Tina Benkiser.


Ken Blackwell

From the Desk of Tina J. Benkiser

Dear RNC Member,

I hope this holiday season finds you and your family well and enjoying time with each other. In the midst of celebration, I am reminded of the blessings that we as Americans enjoy. I am also thankful for your continued sacrifice of time, talent and treasure to ensure a strong foundation and an even better future for our nation.

Thanks to the encouragement of so many of you, I am announcing my candidacy for Co-Chair of the Republican National Committee. I am committed to working with you to grow our Party with integrity, restore the trust and faith of voters in our Party, and return to our winning ways.

As chairman of a successful state party comprised of 254 diverse counties where politics can be a blood sport, I am battle-tested and bring invaluable experience to the RNC leadership team. I understand that to win, our Party's mission must be to:

Promote a conservative philosophy of government, and

Build infrastructure in all 50 states plus territories and possessions so that those who share our philosophy can be effectively engaged in the political process.

Our Republican philosophy is based on respect for the individual as set forth in our U.S. Constitution and founding documents. By advocating policies that promote strong families, personal responsibility, strong national defense, lower taxes, limited government but unlimited opportunity for all, we win elections and empower people.

Our national Party grew and was entrusted with leadership when it stayed true to its conservative principles. Focusing on fiscal responsibility, a strong national defense and traditional family values brought unprecedented growth to the Party not that long ago. America was and still is a center-right country. It was only when national Republican officials failed to stay true to the Party's values and uphold high ethical standards that the Party began to lose races and the trust of the American people.

If the national Republican Party hopes to win in 2010 and beyond (and the only purpose in winning should be to elect officials who will put our philosophy into public policy), the Republican Party must restore trust and faith of America in its leadership.

2009 will be a rebuilding year. To that end, I believe our Party must elect leadership who can:

Set forth a fresh vision for our Party, yet one committed to our conservative principles;

Communicate a consistent, clear, concise, principled message in a positive and practical way to voters across America;

Build a strong, grassroots infrastructure in all states, territories and possessions, providing them with resources for more effective and interactive organizations; and

Set a high ethical standard and hold its leaders accountable to that standard.

Only then can we develop a winning political plan in all areas of our nation. As we do this, we will be able to expand our donor base and raise the funds necessary to accomplish our mission. I know this is possible because my state party has developed the largest state party donor base in the nation.

I have enjoyed incredible success in Texas thanks to many strong, grassroots leaders – just like you. In the last few election cycles, Republicans have won almost 500 seats previously held by Democrats, making historic gains in every area of our state. For the first time ever, Republicans hold almost 2400 offices across Texas. We've done this by helping recruit, train and equip leaders in every area of the state and, then, helping them win.

Speaking to thousands of people and the press about our Party and principles, I have appeared on national television and talk radio, and I routinely appear and publish in media markets across Texas. Further, I have reached voters through millions of phone calls, direct mail, and electronic and emerging media. In this last election cycle, several of our "RPT TV" episodes earned national media attention for their no-nonsense, hard-hitting truth.

Our challenges are great, but we can restore our Party and return to winning across our nation. But, it will take all of us working together to do so. I hope you will allow me to use my experience to serve you in RNC leadership.

I have decided to run for the Co-Chair position because a Chairman candidate has emerged who has everything it takes to help us restore our Party and return to our winning ways. Ken Blackwell has the courage and experience to both lead and inspire us to achieve great things as a Party.

Recognized as a national conservative leader with an amazing record of accomplishment, Ken Blackwell is a dedicated servant-leader. Whether it is leading the charge on issues or successfully running an effective organization, Ken is what our Party needs at this time. He will establish a clear distinction between the Republican Party and our opposition.

As a former football player, Ken understands the necessity of teamwork. But, like a good coach, he understands all the positions on the team, how to develop a winning strategy, and how to motivate and inspire all the players to play at their best and in unity to reach our common goal.

I know that we are both committed to continue building personal relationships, planning, organizing, working and fighting for conservative change to build a better America and a brighter tomorrow. I hope that you will consider electing us as your RNC Chair and Co-Chair when we meet in January.

In the meantime, I will be contacting you to discuss my candidacy. I look forward to sharing my thoughts and listening to yours in the days ahead.

I wish a joyous holiday season!


Tina Benkiser

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soundoff (27 Responses)
  1. You don't need to know my name

    Who wants to be the chair person of the GOP?

    December 16, 2008 11:40 pm at 11:40 pm |
  2. DonnieJ

    As an Ohioan, I can tell you with certainty that Blackwell is an utter TOOL. He is therefore perfect to head the RNC.

    December 17, 2008 05:59 am at 5:59 am |
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