Most state Republican chairmen sign letter supporting embattled RNC chief Steele

April 10, 2010|By Amy Gardner | The Washington Post

NEW ORLEANS — — A majority of state Republican Party chairmen have signed a letter supporting Republican National Committee Chairman Michael S. Steele, pointing to his accomplishments in the job.

"The charge of any national chairman is to raise money and win elections," read the letter, signed by 29 state committees plus those in Guam and the District of Columbia. "With over $100 million raised, victories in Virginia, New Jersey and Massachusetts, and victories in 29 of 37 special elections, Michael Steele has demonstrated that under his chairmanship the RNC has the ability, focus, and drive to lead Republicans to a sweeping victory in November."

Steele has been involved in several controversies during his tenure, and a handful of RNC committee members said they were planning to meet Friday in New Orleans to discuss the chairman.

Roger Villere, the Louisiana state chairman, said several national committee members have asked him to call a meeting on the sidelines of the Southern Republican Leadership Conference to talk about Steele.

Two state chairmen, Randy Pullen of Arizona and Gary Jones of Oklahoma, said in interviews that they and other chairmen are frustrated with Steele's missteps, which they characterized as "distractions" from the task of taking back Congress from the Democrats.

"We need to focus on elections," Jones said. "We need to put winning elections as the most important thing and take personalities out of this and move forward."

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