Republican National Committee Chairman Michael S. Steele, under fire this week for a string of controversial statements he has made while promoting his new book, has so angered the party’s congressional leaders that their aides said they told Steele’s handlers to “get him to stop.”
Steele, who has been making regular television appearances, said Monday that he did not believe Republicans could win back their congressional majorities in 2010. “Not this year,” Steele told Fox News Channel, saying he was just beginning to look at races, even though the party has been recruiting candidates for many months.
Believing that Steele’s off-the-cuff remarks threaten to damage the party’s brand — at the very time when Republicans are trying to capitalize on a national political environment that may hurt Democrats — senior aides to top Republican leaders confronted Steele’s staff on a conference call Wednesday.
They don’t like their party leader “going rogue” it appears. But to make the situation even worse for the GOP, this is now costing them money at a time when they are having fundraising problems already:
Some wealthy contributors are shunning the Republican National Committee and donating instead to the other GOP campaign committees or directly to candidates – in many cases because of discontent with the leadership of Michael S. Steele, the party’s national chairman.
“I don’t plan to give to the Republican National Committee this cycle, and no other major donor I know is planning to either,” Christine Toretti, a Pennsylvania RNC member and a longtime major donor to the RNC and other GOP campaign committees and causes, told The Washington Times.
Mrs. Toretti said that she and other major donors have never received a telephone call from Mr. Steele soliciting money for the RNC, the GOP’s chief campaign fundraising committee.
Lawrence Bathgate, who served a record three times as RNC finance chairman during and after the Reagan era, told The Times, “No, I haven’t given to the RNC this cycle.”
The GOP has a huge problem with Steele and that could very well cost them this election cycle. I wouldn’t be shocked to see the GOP get rid of Steele in the next month or so, so they have time to do damage control. If they wait to long then they will be stuck with him through the general election and that could easily spell disaster for a party looking to regain some control of Congress.