January 15th, 2009
08:00 AM ET
8 years ago

Steele reveals a dozen whips in bid for RNC chair

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/01/07/rnc.transition/art.michael.steele.gi.jpg caption="Former Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael Steele is among six vying for the RNC chairmanship."]WASHINGTON (CNN) – Former Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael Steele will announce Thursday that a dozen Republican National Committee members are whipping votes on his behalf to be the next leader of the national party, Steele political advisors tell CNN.

Wisconsin Republican Party Chair Reince Priebus will unveil Steele's whip operation in a memo to supporters - though in a copy of the document provided to CNN, he stops short of naming other RNC members who have vowed to vote for the former lieutenant governor when the national party meets at the end of the month.

The next national Republican chair will be chosen by 168 men and women from across the country – the first time these GOP activists have wielded such power since President Bush entered the White House.

Steele is one of half a dozen candidates looking to lead the GOP. A CNN tally of public supports shows that 22 RNC members are publicly backing the national party's current chair, Mike Duncan; Michigan Republican Party Chair Saul Anuzis has 13 public commitments; South Carolina Republican Party Chair Katon Dawon, former Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell and Steele all have 12 announced endorsements. Former Tennessee Republican Party Chair Chip Saltsman has none.

A Steele political advisor tells CNN that the former lieutenant governor has "31 hard commitments" from RNC members. It is difficult to judge true support for any one of these candidates because it is a secret ballot, but political observers view Steele as a serious contender for the top spot.

Former Lt. Gov. Michael Steele's whip operation includes:

* Sharon Giese, National Committeewoman, Arizona Republican Party

* Shawn Steel, National Committeeman, California Republican Party

* John Frey, National Committeeman, Connecticut Republican State Central Committee

* Bob Kabel, Chairman, District of Columbia Republican Committee

* Betsy Werronen, National Committeewoman, District of Columbia Republican Committee

* Jim Greer, Chairman, Republican Party of Florida

* Paul Senft, National Committeeman, Republican Party of Florida

* Norm Semanko, Chairman, Idaho Republican State Central Committee

* Patrick Brady, National Committeeman, Illinois Republican Party

* Joyce Terhes, National Committeewoman, Republican State Central Committee of Maryland

* Holly Hughes, National Committeewoman, Michigan Republican State Committee

* Reince Preibus, Chairman, Wisconsin Republican Party

Filed under: RNC
soundoff (13 Responses)
  1. Juan Grain

    They are going to need more than whips to get American interested in the GOP. They need to start making decisisions that make sense.

    January 15, 2009 07:50 am at 7:50 am |
  2. Mike Nunn

    Looks like the GOP is now all caught up now that they got their own melanin enhanced posterboy

    January 15, 2009 07:51 am at 7:51 am |
  3. Jason

    ungh... it's almost like hearing about a murdering competition...

    January 15, 2009 08:01 am at 8:01 am |
  4. Henry Miller, Cary, NC

    A true exercise in pointlessness–until the Republican Party dumps its bible-thumping, wedded-to-ignorance, bigotry and it's Democrat-like pursuit of Big Government, it will remain irrelevant.

    You guys really need to listen to Ron Paul–he has this unfortunate habit of being right most of the time.

    January 15, 2009 08:03 am at 8:03 am |
  5. Alice Newman Center Harbor NH

    I'm sure "whips" is a political term but sounds kinda kinky ... how about just using traditional arm twisting to persuade someone – if using the facts aren't enough to convince someone.

    January 15, 2009 08:03 am at 8:03 am |
  6. very interesting

    and thoughtful choice

    but give me more Palin!!!

    January 15, 2009 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  7. This is a Joke

    Steele screwed over MD... He's more of a definition of Uncle Tom than what webster has for a definition.

    January 15, 2009 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  8. tfrmaz

    Fricking SELL OUT!!

    January 15, 2009 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  9. Joe - Chicago, IL

    Maybe the Republicans are learning. I certainly hope so, the only thing worse than the two party system we have now is a one party system.

    January 15, 2009 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  10. Lisa P

    I don't know much about Steele but if the Chairman of the Wisconsin GOP supports him I can only think less of him. The Republicans need to figure out how to work with the Dems to find workable solutions to some pretty big problems. The WI GOP, by contrast, has been an organization that represents pig-headed ideology, partisanship and obstructionism at every turn for years now, and it's only been getting worse - one of the big reasons we threw so many of them out of the WI Legislature last November.

    January 15, 2009 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  11. Baze

    He has no chance.

    January 15, 2009 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  12. Apples for sale

    This guy doesnt just have a freezer full of cash,I bet he has a truckload.

    January 15, 2009 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  13. Terrence (Winston Salem, NC)

    I hope this isn't an attempt to get a minority vote. Listen up: IT WON'T WORK. It's not the skin, it's what you stand for, Rethugs.

    January 15, 2009 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |