Report: No-confidence vote on Steele in the works

One of Michael Steele's defeated rivals for the RNC chairmanship is reportedly organizing a coup.


Alex Koppelman
March 11, 2009 6:00PM (UTC)

If nothing else, Michael Steele's tenure at the head of the Republican National Committee may finally prove Thomas Hobbes' famous work "Leviathan" right: "The life of man [is] solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short."

Taegan Goddard's Political Wire is reporting that Katon Dawson, who lost the RNC chairmanship to Steele back in January, is organizing a no-confidence vote against his rival. Like FiveThirtyEight.com's earlier report, Goddard's sources tell him the vote will come after the March 31st special election for New York's 20th congressional district -- but Goddard's sources say the vote will happen whether or not Republicans win that seat.

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Some observers have expressed doubt about the reports. Republican strategist Patrick Ruffini, for instance, Twittered, "There is something suspicious about 'GOP sources' who take their stuff first to 538.com (sic) and Political Wire." And Politico's Mike Allen, while not addressing Goddard's story directly, wrote, "Steele is likely to keep his job, because it’s hard to get rid of a chairman. But some of the nation’s most senior Republicans say they’ll watch first and second quarter fundraising carefully. One of them BlackBerries: 'His problem is he appears weak and is struggling for credibility with donors. Steele will remain, limping. He has a lot to prove to the donors -- large and small. The Limbaugh stuff is transient -- real leaders will emerge.'"

If the reports are indeed false, that might end up as a good thing for Republicans. Sure, Steele's tenure as RNC chair has been embarrassing so far, and sure, he's reportedly doing a poor job of running the place. But the spectacle of a guy who only recently quit his membership in a whites-only country club mounting a coup attempt against the RNC's first black chairman would be pretty embarrassing as well.


Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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