Mullins joins a majority of state GOP chairmen in backing Steele as RNC leader
Most state Republican Party chairmen, including Pat Mullins of Virginia, have signed a letter supporting Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele who has come under fire in recent weeks. The letter is signed by 29 state committees and those in Guam and the District.
"With over $100 million raised, victories in Virginia, New Jersey and Massachusetts, and victories in 29 of 37 special elections, Michael Steele has demonstrated that under his chairmanship the RNC has the ability, focus, and drive to lead Republicans to a sweeping victory in November," according to the letter.
Steele has seen his share of several controversies lately, most recently in financial reports that showed his party used donor dollars for luxe hotels, private jets and other questionable expenditures.
Mullins condemned the RNC's latest controversy -- revelations that the RNC spent nearly $2,000 at a sex-themed Hollywood nightclub -- but told our colleague Amy Gardner that he believes Steele's claim that he knew nothing about it.
"I know Michael Steele. That's not his style; that's not something he would do," Mullins said. He added that Steele should bring in a new team to take a closer look at RNC expenditures. But he said forcing Steele out now would be devastating to the GOP's chances in this year's crucial midterm elections.
"I would totally be opposed to that," Mullins said. "We've elected him for a term. That term's up in January. At that point he can decide whether he wants to run again or not run again and then you do a referendum on his tenure as Republican Party chairman. He was very helpful in Virginia throughout our campaign, and I don't think we need to get into a divisive intraparty thing like that in the middle of congressional elections."
Read the full letter below:
As Republican Party state chairmen, we believe Chairman Michael Steele can lead the RNC to be a full partner with us this fall in our efforts to fire Nancy Pelosi and win Republican majorities in Congress and among governors. His record at winning elections has been stellar, his fundraising ability has been solid, and he has honed our Victory programs' ability to identify and deliver voters for Republican candidates.
The charge of any national Chairman is to raise money and win elections. With over $100 million raised, victories in Virginia, New Jersey and Massachusetts, and victories in 29 of 37 special elections, Michael Steele has demonstrated that under his Chairmanship the RNC has the ability, focus, and drive to lead Republicans to a sweeping victory in November.
The RNC under Chairman Michael Steele is a full partner with state committees, responsive to our needs, and intensely interested in providing the support necessary for victory. That process is not an easy process. Technology has had a great impact on the art of politics. That impact has required the RNC to adapt and change to work effectively in this modern environment. Change can sometimes be difficult. But the changes Michael Steele has brought to the RNC were essential for our party to adapt, and win, when we do not, for the moment, hold the White House or Congress.
We stand behind Chairman Steele as he continues to lead us on the path victory in November.
April 10, 2010; 4:00 PM ET
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