After a rocky two-year tenure, Michael Steele has some competition for his spot as chairman of the Republican Party.
Saul Anuzis, the national committeeman from Mighigan who ran against Michael Steele in the Republican National Committee chairman's race two years ago, has announced he'll run again.
Anuzis was considered a formidable contender for the role last time around, but ended up dropping his bid before the final round of voting, which saw Seele beat out South Carolina GOP Chairman Katon Dawson.
Steele has faced numerous controversies during his tenure as chairman, including an early quasi-clash with Rush Limbaugh, the scandal over a party-sponsored excursion to L.A.'s Voyeur nightclub, and his suggestion that President Obama started the war in Afghanistan, the U.S. not being actively engaged in it until Obama took office.
Steele has also said that, if he runs for chairman again, he would win. The committee will vote on its next chairman in January.
Anuzis is seen as tech savvy and has good relations with RNC members, we are reminded today by The Hotline's Reid Wilson, who covers RNC chairmanship races like Batman covers Gotham.
In announcing his bid, Anuzis suggested the RNC hadn't dedicated adequate funds to turnout operations in 2010, that the 2010 elections could have been better with a better-run RNC, and pledged to run a "tight ship" and be a "conscientious steward of our donors' money."
Here's Anuzis's full letter to RNC members, posted today at his blog, entitled...wait for it..."That's Saul, Folks":
TO: RNC Members
FROM: Saul Anuzis, MI-NCM
RE: Announcement for RNC Chairman
DATE: November 12, 2010
Congratulations on your success, nationwide and state-by-state. Without the leadership you and our fellow members of the National Committee provide, we as a party, a conservative movement, would not have been able to rally America for the historic victory we achieved on Election Day.
This is an exciting time to be a Republican and, as leaders, we have an awesome task ahead of us. The American people have given us a 'second chance' and that opportunity brings with it huge responsibility and challenge.
Now we turn our attention to 2012. America must elect a new President. It is that hope, that necessity, that challenge, that draws me to announce my candidacy for the Chairmanship of the Republican National Committee.
I don't take lightly the fact that I am challenging a friend and colleague for the Chairmanship. When Michael was elected Chairman, I was the only candidate who stepped forward to attend the next morning's RNC breakfast meeting, agreed to join the transition team, and later took on several roles as a team player on the RNC...and have attended every meeting since.
Given my involvement and efforts to help over the past two years, it was not an easy decision for me to seek the post. As someone who believes in loyalty, my natural instinct would be to sit this out. But the simple fact is that 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.
We cannot be misled by our victories this year. In 1994 we won the House and Senate yet just two years later Bill Clinton cruised to re-election. As we've seen in the past two years public opinion can change with breathtaking speed.
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.
But to be a force, the RNC must change and that requires new leadership at the top. I am offering you an alternative, a choice, a different approach to the leadership and stewardship of our party.
Chairman Steele's record speaks for itself. He has his way of doing things. I have mine.
We will not win in 2012 if the RNC is not able to provide the financial resources we need to support the organizational efforts and ground games of our state parties. Without a fully funded Victory program we will be overwhelmed by the efforts of the unions, the Obama campaign and all their allies.
Even though we won an overall victory in 2010 we lost some heartbreaking statewide races in places like Illinois, Colorado, West Virginia, Washington and Nevada, and countless congressional and legislative districts because the other side had a better turnout effort.
Think about your own state. Did some terrific Republican candidate work their hearts out, yet fall short by a handful of votes on Election Day? Now ask yourself: if the RNC had properly funded the Victory program in your state, would that candidate have been a winner? Would that candidate have benefited from a robust 72-hour program with ground troops sweeping in for the final weekend?
These are the stakes:
ü We will only win in 2012 if the RNC has the maximum level of resources it is allowed to spend on the GOP Presidential ticket.
ü We will only win in 2012 if the Chairman of the RNC steps out of the limelight and allows our elected officials and presidential candidates to be the face, voice, and agenda setter for Republicans.
ü And, we will only hold on to our gains-and expand them- if the RNC is able to provide the funding and leadership on reapportionment that is so critical.
Thankfully, in 2010 a group of alternative organizations emerged to help fill the void created by the RNC's shortage of resources. They found support from many RNC major donors who had lost faith in the RNC. We need these groups and their support, but they can't be expected to replace the RNC in a presidential year. We must rebuild the trust with our party's major donors and bring them back to the table.
My philosophy of how the National Committee should be run is simple: to use a football analogy, I believe we should do the "blocking and tackling" for the candidates.
Today, we have many great potential candidates emerging as leaders of our country and our party. Member of Congress, Senators and Governors now present the 'face' of the Republican Party. As our elected representatives, it is their job to set the public policy agenda.
As party leaders and grassroots activists, it is our job to make the calls, knock on the doors, organize our states and precincts and, most importantly, raise the money to help elect Republicans.
With those thoughts in mind let me outline what I will do if you choose to elect me as Chairman.
ü I will be a tenacious fundraiser who will make fundraising my number 1 priority as Chairman. As the Michigan Republican Chairman during some of our party's toughest times, I raised record amounts of money to make sure our efforts were funded. I will commit a majority of my time to funding our efforts for this upcoming cycle.
ü I will NOT strive to be the voice or the face of our party. Of course I will be happy to discuss politics and elections with the media, but I won't be competing with valuable airtime from the men and women on our ticket. Instead, I will work with our elected leaders around the country to give them maximum exposure and guarantee a consistent message that leads us to victory.
ü I will be a nuts & bolts type of Chairman, one who will concentrate on the fundamentals and ensure we properly develop and execute our ground game. It will be my goal to create an unprecedented organizational base, fully funded, to make more phone calls, knock on more doors, mail more material and compete on the airwaves to get our message across.
ü I will work with our National Convention committee and ultimately our nominee for President to ensure an effective, efficient Convention that will showcase our party and launch our nominee into the general election campaign with momentum. I will work diligently to ensure that we spend every dollar towards running the most efficient and exciting convention possible.
ü I will raise the funds needed to make sure we have a state of the art reapportionment program nationwide. To take advantage of our 2010 state election victories we will need to buttress the efforts of our state parties and legislative caucuses to make sure they have the information technology, legal support, and data needed to win the redistricting war.
ü I will run a tight ship and be a conscientious steward of our donor's money. I will engage both our donor community and the Budget Committee in a detailed review and supervision of how we allocate our resources. I will be accountable for every penny spent. I will always be mindful that the RNC's resources come from hard-working Americans who love their country and were willing to sacrifice to make it a better place.
ü I will be a team player and work cooperatively with the NRSC, NRCC and RGA to elect more Republicans across our country. I will not take sides in the Presidential primary contest but will be a reliable player that the eventual presidential nominee will be able to depend on, and work with closely and cooperatively through the presidential campaign.
ü I will be available to you and the other Committee members and use your input and advice as we develop election targets and support programs.
ü I will be directly in charge of our Election Day programs and support efforts. During the final days of the 2012 campaign I will be at headquarters 24/7, overseeing our national campaign and making sure that every call is made, every email sent, every piece of literature delivered and every Republican voter we can identify gets to the polls in order to achieve success.
ü Finally, I will ONLY run for ONE term, help elect our president and support his/her recommendation for our next Chairman.
We saw this plan work in Michigan this year. By raising the necessary funds and giving local parties the tools they needed, the Michigan Republican Party created an environment where our slate of great candidates cruised to victory, winning every statewide office, taking back the state house and Supreme Court, increasing majority in the state senate and increasing our GOP Congressional delegation by two seats.
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. However, you'll be hard pressed to find anyone who will work harder, more diligently and be more committed to electing Republicans from the top to every township and city across this great country of ours.
Our Republican Party has a proud history as the Grand Old Party but we have an even brighter future as the Grand Opportunity Party that leads us into the 21st century with innovative solutions based upon our proven principles.
In 2012 one of two things will happen. We will either win back the Senate and White House and set America on the right pathway forward, or we will squander this opportunity and allow President Obama to continue moving our nation to the left, to an era of unprecedented government growth and intrusion into our lives.
As an RNC member, the choice is yours as the outcome will be determined, in large part, by which party has the resources and the organizational program to prevail.
If you believe that what we have seen at the RNC the past two years is good enough to provide us a victory in 2012 then by all means you should stick with our current leadership and direction.
But if you agree with me that victory in 2012 requires a new set of priorities and new leadership I hope you will consider supporting my candidacy for RNC Chairman.