Michael Steele was dumped yesterday as Chair of the Republican National Committee, with Reince Priebus of Wisconsin selected as his replacement. Steele has been a controversial Chairman who was good at self promotion but not so good at fundraising. He leaves the RNC with a debt/deficit of $20 million. Priebus had prominent support from the Haley Barbour camp, with Barbour nephew Hank Barbour nominating him. The Barbour connection, of course, has not gone unnoticed: From the Washington Post:
But Priebus’s victory also owes something to his critical support from GOP heavy hitters. He had a raft of official endorsements, although it is perhaps the unofficial, and unacknowledged, endorsement of Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour that mattered most.
A former lobbyist, RNC chairman and consummate Republican insider who has built the Republican Governors Association into a formidable fundraising juggernaut, Barbour clearly pulled for Priebus. On Friday, his nephew, Henry, nominated Priebus with a speech that suggested he could bring disillusioned big-money-donors back into the fold.
One of the outgrowths of Steele’s tenure was the flight of traditional Republican donors to “outside groups”, like the Republican Governor’s Association run by Barbour. You should see, with Steele’s ouster, a return of some of that money to the RNC.
Where does Michael Steele land? As a Democrat I can only hope it is in the Republican presidential primaries. We will certainly miss Michael Steele.