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Posted at 1:30 PM ET, 01/ 7/2011

McDonnell no longer supports Steele for RNC chairman

By Anita Kumar
Anita Kumar

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell said this week that he is not backing Michael Steele, the embattled chairman of the Republican National Committee, who is seeking re-election next week.

"I'm not backing anybody,'' McDonnell said in an interview. "I think there are some challenges within the RNC right now in terms of fundraising and grassroots organization that weren't up standards during this last election so at this point I'm not making an endorsement one way or another."

McDonnell (R) had been extremely supportive of Steele, the former lieutenant governor of Maryland, for months despite a tenure that has been filled with personal gaffes and charges of financial management.

Steele helped direct an unprecedented $8 million to Republicans in Virginia in 2009 when McDonnell ran for governor.

Steele defended his record Monday at a forum with four other candidates who accused him of mismanagement and said the committee faces a major task of rebuilding its finances and credibility.

The election for a new national party chair will be held Jan. 14 at the RNC's winter meeting. Only the 168 members of the national committee are eligible to vote. Three Virginians have votes, including state party chairman Pat Mullins.

"We've got three votes from Virginia,'' McDonnell said. "Mine's not one of them."

By Anita Kumar  | January 7, 2011; 1:30 PM ET
Categories:  Anita Kumar, Robert F. McDonnell  
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Next: McDonnell, other GOP governors seek federal health-care law reprieve

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