The run up to this week's RNC chairmanship election debate was much ado about nothing. The debate was civil and non-combative and no one person took off after Steele. Instead candidates took the high road concentrating on describing how they would lead the party.
The election for RNC chair is about as inside politics as you can get. I challenge any card-carrying Republican to name a single candidate other than the chairman himself.
One thing clearly emerged from the latest dog and pony show and that is that Chairman Steele should be thanked for his service and allow the RNC leadership to choose a new leader.
Steele does not have the support of party leaders that he should have after the historic victories he presided over this fall. -- Ordinarily you would have expected him to be anointed to a second term after the mid term successes but instead he is being ridden out of town.
One hundred sixty eight Party leaders from across the country are meeting in Washington, D.C. and they will elect the new RNC chairman (or woman) later this week.
To be selected as Party chairman, a candidate must garner at least 85 votes out of 168 available. There can be numerous ballots conducted before any one candidate reaches that magic 85-vote majority. The more ballots the more divisive the election degrades to.
The whole process is more akin to the Iowa Caucuses than an outright election.
One thing is clear and that is this -- it is highly unlikely that Chairman Steele will be re-elected to another 2-year term. He does not have the support to win reelection on a first ballot and therefore he is not likely to gain support after the first round of voting. -- You tend to lose votes not gain votes in subsequent rounds of voting.
None of the contenders for RNC chairman are a household name; that is a blessing and a curse. It is a blessing in that a new leader can re-shape the RNC quietly from the ground up without too much adverse attention. The curse is that the RNC does not have a known person who can help fundraise and appear in media as the face of the party with already proven credentials and gravitas.
One of the following persons will be the RNC Chair:
Reince Priebus, the favorite I am told from my party sources is the current GOP chair from Wisconsin and in 2009 he was hired as general counsel to the RNC.
Ann Wagner, a former RNC co-chairwoman, she is also a former U.S. Ambassador to Luxembourg.
Saul Anuzis, Former Michigan GOP Chairman. He is currently the national chairman for the Save American Jobs Project on the American Solutions team.
He ran for RNC chair against Steele in 2009.
Maria Cino, a current RNC official and leader of the 2008 RNC Republican Convention. She was Deputy Secretary of the United States Department of Transportation in the George W. Bush administration.
Whoever is elected, one thing is sure and that is the RNC needs to re-group. The Party needs a top to bottom shake-up in staffing, financing, direction, purpose and leadership.
The Republican Party must pitch a big tent to have any hope of continued successes in 2012 and beyond.
Winning elections should not be the be all and end all of a Party. What happens between election cycles is as important as the elections themselves.
Bradley A. Blakeman served as deputy assistant to President George W. Bush from 2001-04. He is currently a professor of Politics and Public Policy at Georgetown University and is a frequent contributor to Fox News Opinion.
Former deputy assistant to President George W. Bush