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Steele Defends Himself


Michael Steele.(Richard A. Bloom)

While those numbers are hard to verify before the most up to date disclosure reports are filed, Republicans will likely take issue with the claim that it spent more than any other Republican entity on Republican candidates this year. The RNC made far fewer transfers to state party committees than it has in previous cycles, and other Republican groups -- such as American Crossroads and Crossroads GPS -- spent far more on TV ads for congressional candidates. And, as of Oct. 13, the RNC was $4.5 million in debt. One committee member, Saul Anuzis of Michigan, has already said he will challenge Steele for the chairmanship. There are several others who are reportedly considering a bid, including former RNC Chair Mike Duncan, former RNC co-chair Ann Wagner, Connecticut GOP chair Chris Healy, Wisconsin GOP chief Reince Priebus and former South Carolina chair Katon Dawson. Collins is also reportedly considering a run. Other prominent Republicans, like Minnesota Gov. and potential 2012 contender Tim Pawlenty (R), Republican Governors Association Chair Haley Barbour (R-Miss.) and incoming RGA Chair Rick Perry (R-Texas) have voiced concerns about whether Steele deserves a second term as party chair. In the memo, Steele also touts the RNC's get out the vote operation, arguing that approximately 8.5 million more Republican voters turned out in 2010 than in the last midterms in 2006 as a result of their efforts. In particular, he says the RNC successfully reached out to Tea Party supporters. "These new voters did not materialize out of the ether," Steele says. "For Republicans to succeed, we needed to pull off the highly difficult task of encouraging them to become active politically, and to do so through -- rather than in opposition to -- the Republican party. The RNC led the way in ensuring that Tea Party activists and other grass roots conservatives supported Republicans, and not splinter into a third party movement."

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