I was hoping that it would be either him or Ken Blackwell, and anybody except Mike Duncan or Katon Dawson...either of whom would have been disastrous for our party.
As is typical for national US political parties after losing an election, many senior Republicans promised big changes at the RNC after losing control of the White House in 2008. Former Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael Steele described the party as having lost its sense of purpose while announcing his candidacy to succeed Duncan. "I think I may have some keys to open the door, some juice to turn on the lights," he said.
Besides Michael Steele, who coined the mantra "Drill baby drill" at the 2008 Republican National Convention, Michigan State Republican Party Chairman Saul Anuzis, former Ohio secretary of state and member of the Republican Platform Committee Ken Blackwell, former Tennessee Republican Party Chairman Chip Saltsman, during whose tenure Al Gore lost his home state in the 2000 election, GOP Chairman of South Carolina Katon Dawson,and incumbent Mike Duncan are all seeking the position of National Republican Party Chair. Saltsman's candidacy was marked by controversy when he distributed, as a Christmas gift, a CD that included the song Barack the Magic Negro, a parody of Puff the Magic Dragon.
Other Republicans said the RNC will focus its efforts on congressional and gubernatorial elections in the coming years rather than worrying about the next presidential election. "When I was chairman of the Republican National Committee the last time we lost the White House in 1992 we focused exclusively on 1993 and 1994. And at the end of that time, we had both houses of Congress with Republican majorities, and we’d gone from 17 Republican governors to 31. So anyone talking about 2012 today doesn’t have their eye on the ball. What we ought to worry about is rebuilding our party over the next year and particularly in 2010,” ex-RNC chair and Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour said at the November 2008 Republican Governors conference.