Pro-Life Advocates Including Michael Steele Seek Republican Party Chair

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Nov 11, 2008   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Pro-Life Advocates Including Michael Steele Seek Republican Party Chair

by Steven Ertelt Editor
November 11
, 2008

Washington, DC ( — Two pro-life Republicans are looking at campaigns to become the next chairman of the national Republican Party. Michael Steele, the former lieutenant governor of Maryland and the most prominent African-American Republican, is considered a top candidate.

Chip Saltsman, the chairman of the presidential campaign of former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee is also vying for the post.

There had been talk of pro-life former House Speaker Newt Gingrich also running, but Gingrich has said he will not participate in the race for the position and Steels is talking to him to try to secure an endorsement.

In fact, a source close to Steele told Fox News that an earlier report of tension between Steele and Gingrich was not correct.

"There is no fight," the source said. "This tension between Michael Steele and Newt Gingrich is totally fabricated and, in fact, Gingrich and Steele are working together to create a new strategy for the direction of the GOP."

Gingrich has issued a statement of his own saying he is not a contestant for the GOP chairmanship.

Steele, who lost a bid for the U.S. Senate in 2006 and was a keynote speaker at the September convention that saw John McCain officially become the GOP presidential candidate, is expected to officially announce his bid on Thursday.

Family Research Council president Tony Perkins hasn’t endorsed anyone, but talking about Steele, he previously said he "has shown a commitment to the values that were once the GOP’s guiding light," referring to his pro-life views.

The party meets in January to select a new chairman and its current leader, Mike Duncan, has launched an outreach campaign to determine if current party leaders would like him to stay or step down.

South Carolina Republican Party chairman Katon Dawson and former Iowa Rep. Jim Nussle are also potential candidates for the post.

Weekly Standard columnist Mary Katharine Ham has good things to say about Steele.

"Michael Steele is an eminently likable guy who can communicate conservative values and ideas with competence and charm, and has always inspired the base," she said.

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