Steele manages to bring in the big bucks

Republicans were worried the new RNC chair would have fundraising problems, but he's doing well, at least so far.

Published March 19, 2009 4:55PM (EDT)

Turns out Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele might not be so bad at his job after all. Though there was some talk earlier this week of an impending fundraising disaster, the RNC says it pulled in $5.1 million last month, which isn't far off its results from January, when Steele's predecessor Mike Duncan was still in office.

That $5.1 million will go farther now than it otherwise would have, too, because Steele has cut expenses by about 40 percent, or $2 million. There is, depending on how you look at it, a negative side to that number as well, as it's due at least in part to Steele's firing of dozens of staffers, many of whom have not yet been replaced.

A bigger test of Steele's abilities might come this month, as staff changes that could potentially impact fundraising took place at the end of February and the beginning of March, and some of his more damaging public statements have happened only recently.

By Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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