Wagner urges RNC rivals not to back Steele
December 20th, 2010
03:19 PM ET
12 years ago

Wagner urges RNC rivals not to back Steele

Washington (CNN) - Ann Wagner, one of six candidates seeking the chairmanship of the Republican National Committee, is promising not to support Chairman Michael Steele under any circumstance if she happens to come up short in her bid to lead the organization.

The former Missouri GOP Chairwoman and onetime Ambassador to Luxembourg told CNN Monday that she will "absolutely not" endorse Steele or tell her supporters to do so if she fails to make it to the final round of what is likely to be a multi-ballot election come January.

The most recent RNC election, in January 2009, lasted through six rounds of balloting before Steele was declared the winner. Along the way, the losers cut deals and endorsed candidates who were perceived to have momentum.

Wagner called on her rivals not to back Steele if history begins to repeat itself. "I would ask any of the candidates out there to not to move any of their support to Michael Steele, regardless of the outcome of any one individual," she said.

While affirming that she is "in the race to win it," Wagner said numerous committee members have, in the course of their conversations, asked her not to back Steele if she fails to advance to the late stages of the election.

"I have made that commitment to many of the men and women who have asked me that," Wagner said. "They want a new direction, a new leadership. That's my commitment."

Steele and Wagner are running against Wisconsin GOP Chairman Reince Priebus, former RNC Political Director Gentry Collins, Michigan committeeman Saul Anuzis, and former Bush administration official Maria Cino.

Also Monday, Wagner picked up the backing of two West Virginia committee members - Jim Reed and Donna Lou Gosney - meaning she can now officially be nominated for the chairmanship.

Each state is represented on the RNC by three people: the state GOP chair and two national committee members. To stand for the chairmanship, a candidate must count on two-thirds support from three different states. Wagner has now crossed that crucial threshold in West Virginia, Tennessee and her home state of Missouri.

Cino also earned a burst of momentum over the weekend by announcing endorsements from New York GOP Chairman Ed Cox, Delaware committeewoman Priscilla Rakestraw and Minnesota committeewoman Evie Axdahl. The RNC members are the first to publicly line up behind Cino.

Filed under: Ann Wagner • RNC
soundoff (7 Responses)
  1. Sniffit

    Well, there's nothing GOPers and rabid neocnos love more than a screeching harpy. Black dude acting as token RNC chair once the demogoguery has nullified his thinly-veiled purpose? Not so much.

    December 20, 2010 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  2. Joe from CT, not Lieberman

    Ambassador to Luxembourg – Yeah, that takes a lot of political experience! Of course, those cushy ambassadorships to countries like that are awarded to folks who can raise lots and lots of money for the Party and the President (see Joe Kennedy as ambassador to the UK in 1933).
    Telling her supporters to not back a specific candidate before the initial balloting is somewhat premature, but these are Republicans used to be told what and who to say NO to.

    December 20, 2010 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  3. Kenneth of Minneapolis

    Yup, Mr. Steele, after your party took over the House, they now want to replace you.

    December 20, 2010 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  4. Kenneth of Minneapolis

    Line up little sheep and do as the elite Republicans tell you.

    December 20, 2010 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  5. Kenneth Krieger

    Steele has a tongue made out of silly putty. Anyone but him. Ken Krieger Cape Coral, Florida

    December 20, 2010 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  6. ?

    We all know that Steele was only chosen cuz the color of his skin, little did they know how dumb he was...yet again, what can you compare him too cuz the whole party is arranged of nothing but wackos and racists!

    December 20, 2010 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  7. Marie MD

    Who says that the rethugs are the only ones with good looking women? Wow!!!
    She's as red as that "necessary" red suit for all the republikan women. Sad, so, so sad! 🙂

    December 20, 2010 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |