Former Republican National Committee chairman Mike Duncan won't try to win back his old job, he said Friday.
In a statement e-mailed to reporters, Duncan, who chaired the committee from 2007 to 2009, said he appreciated the encouragement he had received, but that he would not have the time to run the committee as he had during the 2008 cycle. Duncan had considered a comeback, and had even participated in the first candidate forum of the year, held December 1 in Washington.
Though Duncan won't run against the man who beat him two years ago, he pulled no punches in leveling his criticism of current chairman Michael Steele's tenure.
"The next chairman of the RNC faces tremendous challenges in lifting the committee out of debt, preparing for the next presidential nominee, and restoring the RNC to its place as the premier political organization in the United States. With the American Dream being destroyed by Barack Obama and the Democrats' reckless economic policies and lack of leadership on the global stage, the stakes are so high that, to save America, we must change the leadership at the top of the committee," Duncan said.
His exit means the field of candidates running to chair the RNC is largely set at six. Steele wants a second term, but he faces off against former Michigan Republican Party chairman Saul Anuzis, Wisconsin Party chairman Reince Priebus, former RNC co-chairman Ann Wagner, former Bush administration official Maria Cino and former RNC political director Gentry Collins.
The RNC's 168 members will choose a new chairman on January 14. And while candidates slowly tout endorsements from committee members, the next time they meet face-to-face will be January 3, when Americans for Tax Reform holds a candidate forum in Washington.