The RNC election was a wild ride to say the least. The race say the lead changes between former Chair Mike Duncan who led after the first ballot, then Michael Steele lead after the 3rd, and Katon Dawson with the lead after the 4th.
In a surprising move, conservative Ken Blackwell of Ohio backed Michael Steele after the 4th ballot, leading the way for Steele to win on the 5th ballot. What it means for Iowa’s “First in the Nation” status is unclear. We don’t know if any assurances we made by Steele or not, but we do know the Iowa delegation did not back Steele, which could come back to haunt them down the road.
In reading the comment section some are quick to think that the election of Steele means the end of the Iowa Caucuses. I don’t necessarily agree with that sentiment even though I’m worried. If Steele is a chairman who enforces the rules and doesn’t allow any shenanigans from a few larger states wishing to crash our party we will be fine.
In regards to Steele there are some things that I do like. First, he is a recognizable figure. Most people didn’t have a clue who Mike Duncan was. That’s a problem. That means he can’t really help fundraise for the national party, or even make the rounds with the cable news network. Steele can do all of those things. I also think Steele is a great communicator, I’ve seen him speak a number of times and have been impressed by him. There is no doubt that Steele also wants to make the party more inclusive. I have no problem with that as long as we don’t have to compromise our principles to achieve that goal.
As for Chairman Strawn, Steve Scheffler and Kim Lehman I don’t think we can blame them for not supporting Steele. In Scheffler and Lehman’s defense they backed the right conservative; their guy was only 8 votes away from victory. And even if they had backed Steele, there still would be questions about whether or not our First in the Nation status was in jeopardy or not.
Strawn, Scheffler, and Lehman now must reach out and heal divisions that might now exist. Inviting Steele to the state might be a good first move. To be really honest with you, if Anuzis would have been the one that put Steele over the top I’d be more worried than I currently am.