Sunday, January 30, 2011
By Bryan Myrick 1/31/11
OCEAN SHORES, Wash. -- The field that will eventually compete for the Republican Party’s presidential nomination in 2012 has yet to officially reveal itself, a mystery that polling attempts to solve. Though former governors Sarah Palin, Mike Huckabee, and Mitt Romney lead the pack in the most recent nationwide surveys, it was Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels who came out on top of a straw poll taken at the Roanoke Conference in Ocean Shores, Wash. on Sunday.
Daniels has barely registered in national polls, overshadowed by a dominant trio of familiar faces from the 2008 GOP primary, former governors Mitt Romney, Sarah Palin, and Mike Huckabee. Nonetheless, a conference attended by more than 300 Republican activists in Washington State chose Daniels ahead of all others by a wide margin, and virtually ignored two of the current frontrunners in the polls.
Daniels pulled 31 percent of votes cast, more than twice the count of the next highest vote-getter, Romney, who won 14 percent. Completing the top five were former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty (13 percent), New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (9 percent), and South Dakota Sen. John Thune (8 percent).
The poll was conducted in a caucus format in which candidates were announced and individuals were allowed to make short endorsement speeches from the floor. Small groups discussed the pros and cons of specific individuals after which discussion votes were cast and counted.
Because Secretary of State Sam Reed (R) and Gov. Chris Gregoire (D) have proposed eliminating the Washington’s presidential primary, the Roanoke Conference Straw Poll could be a valuable data point for Republican campaigns seeking to win Washington’s delegates to the national nominating convention next August in Tampa Bay, Florida, should the state move to an all-caucus process.
Notable absentees from the Top 5 were Huckabee and Palin. Though Palin and Huckabee showed up well in recent Rasmussen and NBC/Wall Street Journal polls, among the mainstream Republicans attending the Roanoke Conference the pair drew only 3 and 2 percent support, respectively.
For Huckabee in particular, the showing could be an early sign of weak support in the Evergreen State of another run for the White House. In 2008, Huckabee received 24 percent of votes cast in the presidential primary and 23 percent in voting in caucuses.
The Roanoke Conference Straw Poll for the Republican presidential primary election was the second in the nation after New Hampshire’s conducted last Saturday. Romney won that poll with 35 percent of the vote, while Daniels received 3 percent.
Monday, January 24, 2011
Today, President Obama sang the praises of Roe v. Wade. On one level, that's not surprising -- he's the most pro-choice President ever. But Obama is also a Harvard Law School alumnus, and he used to teach Constitutional law, and so you would think he would see Roe for the embarassing bit of ideologically motivated junk it is. Click here to read rest of story.
Friday, January 21, 2011
Yesterday it was reported that Kermit Gosnell, an abortionist, was arrested and charged with eight counts of murder. He was charged with the murder of babies who were fully delivered; he induced labor, delivered the babies and then stuck a scissors in the back of their necks and mercilessly killed them. Their first breath, was also their last. Lacking even the dignity of a human touch; no one holding their tiny, innocent hand coursing with life’s blood, as that life left their tiny bodies. Eyes opening, trying to focus for the first time and trustingly seek out the security of the face belonging to the voice they’d heard for many months inside the womb. Struggling to survive, as the will to live is strong, even in the most tiny and vulnerable. Click here for full story.
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
Monday, January 17, 2011
With the November midterm elections having just recently taken place, it is hard to believe the first Republican presidential primary debate is just months away. Daily Caller contributor and former Godfather’s Pizza CEO Herman Cain became the first Republican candidate to formerly launch a presidential exploratory committee last week. More will surely follow.
Below is my first ranking of the top 10 possible candidates, ranked by their current strength to win the nomination should they run. This will undoubtedly alter significantly as we move through the primary season and my rankings will be periodically updated to reflect the changing environment.
But without further ado, the current rankings: Read here.
Sunday, January 16, 2011
Ambassador Yuan was a gracious host and warmly welcomed us to the Embassy and expressed his gratitude to the Republican Party for understanding Taiwan's desire to be a free and independent country and not under the control of Communist China.
We were served a six course Asian meal which included several rounds of what the Ambassador called "bottoms up toasts". It was a lively and leisurely meal but immediately after the dessert course they thanked us for coming and ushered us out the door. It was comical but we could hardly blame them as it was already well after midnight. We were also exhausted after a very long day that started at 7:30AM.
Current RNC Chairman Michael Steele
Reince Priebus, chairman of the Wisconsin GOP
Saul Anuzis, former Republican chairman of Michigan
Ann Wagner, chairman of the Missouri Republican Party
Maria Cino, manager of the 2008 Republican National Convention
There were many stategic moves during the long day of balloting and various combinations of candidates were seen huddled at different times - apparently attempting to strike deals for potential voters. Michael Steele dropped out after the fifth round of balloting when it became evident he could not win re-election. Meanwhile Reince Prebuis steadily gained votes on every count but did not reach the magic 84 until the 8th round.
Defeat is written on Ann Wagner's face. She was a strong contender and became my favorite candidate. Alas, she bowed out of the race after the 7th ballot.
Washington State's Fredi Simpson nominated Floridian Sharon Day for Co-Chair of the RNC. Day won!
Fredi Simpson of Wenatchee is the National Committeewoman for Washington State
Reince Priebus elected today as the new National Chairman of the Republican Party
Before being elected as the Chairman of the Republican Party of Wisconsin in 2007, Priebus devoted his time and effort to electing Republican officials for many years, including running as a GOP candidate for state Senate in 2004.
Priebus previously worked in the Wisconsin legislature as the Committee Clerk for the State Assembly Education Committee.
After enrolling at the University of Miami School of Law, Priebus clerked for the Wisconsin Court of Appeals, the Supreme Court of Wisconsin, the United States District Court, and the Southern District of Florida.
Priebus has made media appearances on Fox News with Megyn Kelly, Geraldo Rivera, MSNBC and C-SPAN's "Road to the Whitehouse."
Priebus resides in Kenosha with his wife Sally, his son Jack, and baby girl Grace Avalyn.
By the way, his name is pronounced ryns pree-buhs
Friday, January 14, 2011
There are nine voting booths and ballots are submitted in absolute secrecy.
Each candidate has a five minute nomination window. They will ask one loyal individual to nominate them and then have as many as they can fit into the 5 minute window add their second to the nomination.
Each ballot count is expected to last one hour. By the time they run through all the offices – it could be as late as 11:00PM
FYI: Only two candidates are RNC voting members – Priebus and Anuzis. The other three candidates – Steele, Wagner and Cino are seated, like me, as a guest.
Some supporters of Republican National Committee Chairman Michael S. Steele are privately urging him to consider a graceful exit strategy as RNC members prepare for Friday's showdown vote on who will lead the party for the next two years.
Mr. Steele, who has vowed to fight to the bitter end in the fierce five-way contest, has some 28 votes publicly committed to him among the 168-member RNC — compared with the 41 votes claimed by Wisconsin GOP Chairman Reince Priebus, the presumed front-runner. Click here for rest of article.
By all accounts it’s going to be a long day. No one expects the next RNC Chair to be elected on the first, second, third or even fourth ballot. It took six ballots for Steele to win the chairmanship in 2009.
There is much last minute campaigning and wrangling of each candidate to secure a majority of the 168-member RNC votes. It will take 85 votes to win.
I have been stunned to see firsthand the enormous campaign efforts launched for the (some would say thankless) position of RNC Chair. Slick brochures, professional produced battle plans, signs, expensive hospitality suites, staff members, and each RNC voting member received no less than eight gift bags from various candidates – containing anything from snacks to state mementoes to personalized notepads and in one case an engraved business card holder. In addition there are also other minor offices open for election. The Chair receives a salary but there is no financial compensation for the positions of Vice Chair, Secretary and Treasurer.
Thursday, January 13, 2011
Above pictured L to R: Luanne, Rep. Jaime Herrera, Fredi Simpson, Rep. Cathy McMorris-Rodgers, Rep. Doc Hastings, Luke Esser (WA State Chair) and Rep. Dave Reichert
I flew into DC on Wednesday and took a taxi to the fabulous Gaylord National Hotel overlooking the Potomac in Maryland. This place is breathtaking and like its own little city on the National Harbor.
By the time I arrived the opening reception was in full swing. Almost immediately I was introduced to most of the contenders running for RNC Chair. The race for RNC Chair obviously gets the most attention but there are other positions as well that are up for grabs (or should I say votes) - Vice Chair, Secretary and Treasurer. With multiple candidates running for each office the evening was all about competing for the votes of the RNC membership. Since I'm not a voting member I was under no pressure so I could just stand back and observe the action. Fascinating, to say the least.
There are five candidates vying for the chairmanship of the RNC: Wisconsin GOP Chairman Reince Priebus, Saul Anuzis, Maria Cino, Ann Wagner and incumbent RNC chairman Michael Steele.
The late evening included moving from room to room as many of the candidates hosted private receptions. Speaker Boehner hosted a reception for his favorite candidate, Maria Cino. It's an oft used clique but this man is seriously very down to earth. John Boehner is personable and unassuming, which is amazing for someone who is third in line to the presidency. He is tan (yes, very!), trim and bouyant with a certain roughness that must come from his Ohio blue collar upbringing.
John and I commiserated about Washington's 2nd Congressional District not sending John Koster back to DC as our next Congressman.
We visited with Saul Anuzis at his reception and enjoyed hearing his compelling life story as the son of Lithuanian immigrants who hid Jews during WWII. I would be very happy with this capable man at the helm of the RNC. He is also a twitter bug and we compared notes about hashtags and other hot topics. Saul is a former state Republican chair from the state of Michigan.
Tuesday, January 11, 2011
RNC elections are very hard to predict. They run under special rules of gravity based nearly as much on personal relationships as ideology. My handicapping -- a partially informed guess at best -- is as follows. Reince Priebus, the very able Wisconsin state chair is the clear front-runner. Michael Steele the incumbent is way behind and nearly certain to lose. Most of the voters are still not telling outsiders their choice. But the actual committee members are talking to each other and those of us who have been around politics a long time and know a lot of committee members are hearing a certain buzz from the murky situation. That said, I think the likely final dynamic of the race will be Priebus versus the winner of a not-Priebus contest among the other candidates: (Maria Cino, Ann Wagner, Michael Steele and Saul Anuzis).
What to watch? The first ballot will be a key show of strength for Priebus. If Reince does well, he may surge on momentum and take it fast. Many of the RNC members have only made a first ballot commitment. If they think Priebus is going to surge, many will join the bandwagon to be on the winning side. These are all local party politicians after all. If he looks vulnerable, they may try to go somewhere else. Priebus' great strength is his outstanding record as Wisconsin GOP chair. His weakness comes from being a former close Steele ally and as such carries the ironic baggage of being disliked by the Steele forces for what they see as betrayal while also being seen by some of the anti-Steele vote as too close to the old Steele regime.
Saul Anuzis, a well-regarded former Michigan chair and longtime committee hand, has run before and has many friends on the committee. He is attempting to combine his natural support on the committee with the dozen or so Steele votes that will get free after the first ballot. My sources say he is doing increasingly well with second and third ballot commitments. My guess is that Saul will emerge as the leading opponent to Priebus after the first ballot. The vital question is whether Saul will show enough strength on the second ballot to generate his own momentum. The old pol's rule of "be for what is going to happen" will have a big effect on the second and third ballots.
My best guess? I think there is about a 60% chance that Priebus will take it, followed by a 35% chance for Anuzis and a 10% chance for a Cino upset. I'm probably being too kind to Maria Cino, but she too is an excellent operative. Her problem is that she has more support outside the RNC than on it; most on the RNC have a preference for "one of our own," and both Priebus and Anuzis are seasoned Committee pols. The good news is that no Steele type disaster is looming. I think Priebus, Anuzis and Cino would each make an excellent chair; we'll find out next week which of them has best mastered the art of inside wheeling and dealing in a tricky multiple ballot election.