First Major Challenger To Steele Announces Bid

November 12, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol 

Former Michigan Republican Party chairman Saul Anuzis on Friday will become the first major candidate to announce a bid to chair the Republican National Committee.

In a letter being sent to national committee members, Anuzis says the decision to challenge incumbent chairman Michael Steele did not come easy, given his close relationship with Steele. But, he says, the only way for Republican to win back the White House is to get the RNC on the right path.

“The overriding challenge we face is winning back the Presidency in 2012 and we will not accomplish that objective unless there is dramatic change in the way the RNC does business,” Anuzis wrote to members. “We can’t rely on our wins in 2010 to carry us to success in 2012. We also can’t win in 2012 unless the RNC re-establishes itself as the powerful force that put us over the top in 2000 and 2004.”

Many members of the RNC are unhappy with the committee’s direction after two years under Steele’s leadership. But Anuzis said he wouldn’t dwell on any perceived gaffes as he makes his pitch to members.

“I’m not discussing or addressing the past two years. Steele’s record is the record and it speaks for itself. I am focusing on what is in the party’s best interest this next cycle,” Anuzis told The Hotline as he prepared to make his announcement public. “People like that I’m not bashing Steele, second guessing his policies or highlighting his mistakes. I don’t have to. They are known, well-documented and written about.”

Still, Anuzis’s pitch is heavily laden with references to some of Steele’s more controversial moves. “My agenda is very straightforward. I have no interest in running for office. I won’t be writing a book. It is not my goal to be famous,” Anuzis wrote, referring to a book Steele wrote that angered RNC members. Anuzis also pledged a “detailed review and supervision of how we allocate our resources,” a reference to Steele’s often strained relations with the party’s biggest donors.

The pitch also focuses on what might have been had the RNC been as big a player in the party’s get-out-the-vote operations as it had been in earlier years.

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