[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/08/06/art.steele.file6.gi.jpg caption ="Michael Steele avoided questions about a second term on Friday."]Kansas City, Missouri (CNN) – Michael Steele on Friday wouldn’t commit to seeking a second term as Republican National Committee chairman. But he would commit to lunch.
Pressed by reporters on whether he’s readying for a re-election bid - something he said was all but certain in a recent conversation with a conservative journalist - Steele avoided the question.
“Oh my goodness, can we get through this election first?” he answered.
Asked again as he was walking toward a reception with RNC members, Steele would only say: “You know what I thinking about now? Lunch.”
Already two Republicans – North Dakota GOP chairman Gary Emineth and former Minnesota Sen. Norm Coleman – have signaled interest in challenging Steele next year.
In the brief and increasingly rare session with national reporters, Steele rejected the seemingly never-ending questions about his handling of the RNC and its purse strings.
“It’s been very good stewardship,” he insisted. “With anything, there are disagreements and different opinions on issues, but I think members have made it very clear that our focus should be on November 2. All the noise of mid-summer will fade away to victory in November.”
Steele said the RNC has spent heavily on making sure that state parties are getting the “resources they need” to fund get-out-the-vote programs in November.
“Would I love to have 20 million in the bank? Absolutely,” he said. “But I have about six or seven because I have spent that money to get those victory offices open and to get the infrastructure on the ground.”
That’s less money than the RNC had on hand at the end of June, their most recent filing with the Federal Election Commission. At the end of June, the committee had $10.9 million in the bank and carried $2 million worth of debt.