Advocates Mount Campaign for Pro-Life Republican Party Chair

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Dec 22, 2010   |   1:04PM   |   Washington, DC

The Susan B. Anthony List announced a new campaign today that will encourage pro-life voters to get involved in the process of electing a new Republican party chairman.

The SBA List and a coalition of like-minded groups plan to mobilize half a million activists to lobby voting members of the Republican National Committee (RNC) to elect a pro-life chairman in the January voting.

They see the process as crucial to the effort to defeat pro-abortion President Barack Obama in 2012 as the new national Republican Party chairman will head the party’s fundraising and voter turnout efforts that could make the difference in the outcome of the race.

The current chairman, former Maryland Lt. Governor Michael Steele, is pro-life but has upset grassroots Republicans with curious comments about abortion and poor fundraising and management of the party. His record has prompted a handful of candidates to declare they will challenge Steele when the 168 members of the RNC’s leadership board vote for a new chairman. Still, he has announced he will seek a second term.

Through e-mail outreach, activists across the country will ask local RNC members to vote for a chairman who will provide pro-life leadership in the 112th Congress and beyond.

“It is critical that the next RNC chairman not only be pro-life, but be prepared to use his or her position to advance pro-life values,” SBA List president Marjorie Dannenfelser told Tuesday morning. “We look forward to vetting candidates on their stances on Life and how they would advance these causes as RNC Chairman.”

The grassroots campaign includes outreach to 500,000 socially conservative activists encouraging them to vote for questions addressing the pro-life issues at the upcoming debate SBA is co-sponsoring with Americans for Tax Reform and the conservative Daily Caller news web site.

The debate, on January 3, will take place in the Ballroom of the National Press Club and stream live online at between 1:00 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. ET.

Steele has been beset by a string of gaffes — including coming under fire for his abortion comments when, in an interview with GQ, Steele said he thought women have, according to the interviewer, a “right to choose abortion.”

His opponents include Wisconsin Republican Chairman Reince Priebus; Saul Anuzis, a pro-life former Michigan Republican chairman; and Gentry Collins, who served as RNC political director until last month — when he resigned and issued a scathing report on Steele’s tenure and financial and fundraising problems.

Other candidates include Ann Wagner of Missouri, former co-chair of the RNC and Maria Cino, a longtime Republican official with ties to former President George W. Bush and who has the backing of RNC Chairman Ed Gillespie and former Vice President Dick Cheney.

Ed Morrissey, a pro-life conservative who blogs at the popular Hot Air web site, says the time has come for a change if Obama opponents want to see a 2012 presidential campaign that has a strong chance of winning.

“The wheels came off of the RNC in 2009-10, and the GOP simply cannot afford a repeat in the presidential election cycle of 2012. When Steele used his star power to win election to his first term, even some of his supporters understood that Steele didn’t have a track record for organization and fundraising,” he explained. “It was his media savvy that Republicans wanted, which is why the series of gaffes stunned and angered the GOP over the past two years.”

“While Steele will undoubtedly take some credit for the historic win in the House in the midterms, the RNC was essentially irrelevant, deep in debt and no GOTV efforts in the home stretch,” he said. “If third-party groups hadn’t ridden to the rescue, Nancy Pelosi might still be speaker — and if the RNC had organized properly, the GOP might have picked up a few more seats in the House.”

And Penny Nance, the president of Concerned Women for America, recently wrote that the Republican Party needs a new chairman heading into the 2012 presidential election cycle who is more committed to pro-life values and has a stronger fundraising and voter turnout ability.