Say good night, Ken

In the wake of Tuesday's elections, Ken Mehlman is expected to leave his job as chairman of the Republican National Committee.

Tim Grieve
November 10, 2006 7:10PM (UTC)

Donald Rumsfeld isn't the only one headed out the door in the wake of Tuesday's elections. The Washington Post says Ken Mehlman is on his way out as chairman of the Republican National Committee.

Mehlman wouldn't comment on his future plans when he met with reporters Thursday, but the Post's sources say he told the White House back in August that he would be leaving after the midterm elections. Maybe he should have left before: The job market for GOP lobbyists isn't quite what it was a week ago -- and there are suddenly a lot more applicants available for whatever jobs are left.


As for Mehlman's job at the RNC? Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael Steele is said to be interested. The attraction: He's well loved by a lot of the Republican punditry -- folks on Fox seemed to be on the edge of tears when Steele lost to Ben Cardin in the Maryland Senate race Tuesday -- and he could help the GOP reach out to African-American voters. The downside: Republicans are likely to remember Steele's anonymous Bush-bashing over the summer, and Democrats will try to remind everyone of the dirty tricks that surrounded Steele's campaign in the fall -- including his effort to get himself elected by pretending to be a Democrat.

The Post says other potential Mehlman replacements include Mary Matalin, the former communications director for Dick Cheney, and Maria Cino, who serves now as the president's deputy secretary of transportation. But the paper suggests that the real candidates to succeed Mehlman haven't emerged yet, quoting a Republican strategist who says that the three identified above are not really "on the table" for the job.

Update: The Washington Times has Mehlman confirming his departure and -- contrary to the Post story -- says that Steele's name is more than just "on the table." Citing unidentified Republican officials, the Times says Steele has been offered the job as RNC chair.

Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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