My good friend Chris Cillizza had an interesting post on the race for the next chair of the RNC yesterday. I found the names that he mentioned to be fascinating, not because it included the name of a former Congressman from Iowa, but because the RNC chair could have a major impact on the Iowa Caucuses so we better not mess this up.
It should come as no surprise that the majority of the names he mentioned come from states who want to see their state either preserve their status as an early presidential primary or caucus or want to elevate their states status. Simply put there is a lot of risk to Iowa’s 1st in the Nation status if we have a RNC chair who is hostile to us.
In honor of Cillizza, here is the list.
Jim Nussle, Iowa. I was surprised to see Nussle on the list and think and find it to be intriguing. As we all know Nussle was a heck of a Congressman but a poor gubernatorial candidate. Having seen him speak after his gubernatorial campaign, it is clear that Nussle’s comfort zone in national politics not state government. Nussle has always done well in the fundraising department and can speak intelligently on a host of issues. Being from Iowa he should support our First in the Nation status, but his candidate of choice in 2008, Rudy Giuliani didn’t fully embrace Iowa, and skipped the Iowa Straw Poll. (I believe that Rudy would have done much better in his quest for the Republican nomination had he fully competed in Iowa.
Katon Dawson, South Carolina. Mr. Dawson is the chair of the Republican Party in South Carolina and has helped to cement his state’s First in the South status. It is my belief that Dawson would help preserve our current nomination calendar, not alter it. I can’t speak to Dawson’s ability to communicate and fundraise but I have talked to national types who speak highly of him.
Jim Greer, Florida. Here’s where we start getting in trouble folks. Florida and Michigan created a lot of havoc in the nomination calendar in 2008. There is no doubt that they both want a prominent spot. Now from my vantage point they received a ton of attention in the primary, if Greer’s being mentioned he obviously wants more.
Saul Anuis, Michigan. See above. For those of you who don’t know Saul he’s a little like Ted Sporer. Now we know how that cuts both ways. Anuis is a great communicator and full of energy, and there is no secret that he would want a more prominent role for Michigan to play in the nomination calendar. Also don’t fool yourself and think potential presidential candidates are not playing in this game. I don’t who Anuis supported in the primary, but a more prominent role for Michigan is good for one candidate, Mitt Romney.
Mike Duncan, current chair. Moving right along.
Michael Steele, Maryland. Steele is a rising star in the GOP. He is the former Lt. Governor of Maryland, and their US Senate candidate in 2006. Last cycle he served as Chairman of GOPAC, and supported Rudy Giuliani. I like Steele a lot but I think I remember him saying some not so supportive things about Iowa’s First in the Nation Status.
Chip Saltsman, Tennessee. Chip is the former Chair of the Tenn GOP, was Bill Frist’s main political guy, and then engineered Huckabee’s Huck-a-boom. Saltsman is extremely likable and young, something the GOP needs. Selecting him however might be too blatant for fans of other potential presidential candidates. However, Saltsman has seen the value of Iowa first hand.
It’s too early to guess who it’s going to be, but never too early to start talking about it.