Ballot Box

Black Republican radio host suggests he will run for president

NEW ORLEANS -- Herman Cain for president?

While other prospective 2012 candidates speaking to the Southern Republican Leadership Conference hem and haw over whether they will run, the Atlanta area radio host concluded his speech Saturday afternoon with a very suggestive nod toward his own political aspirations.

"There may also be a dark-horse candidate you don’t know," Cain said at the end of his speech, before immediately walking off the stage. The crowd cheered.

Cain got a choice speaking spot and is one of three black Republicans given speaking slots at the conference. He gave a rousing speech in which he talked about being diagnosed with stage-four cancer, and said he would have died under the healthcare bill that was recently signed into law.

He would certainly be a dark horse. Few in the room had probably heard of Cain, but his speech, which was well-received, should begin the process of changing that.

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Pawlenty PAC raised $566k in first quarter

NEW ORLEANS -- Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty's political action committee raised $566,000 in the first quarter, it announced Saturday.

The total, which was announced in advance of Pawlenty's video address to the Southern Republican Leadership Conference here this afternoon, is less than half what the PAC raised in the fourth quarter of 2009 -- its first in existence.

The Freedom First PAC has now raised a total of $1.84 million. Pawlenty, who is exploring a 2012 presidential run, has begun endorsing candidates for Congress in 2010.

“President Obama and Congressional Democrats are taking our country in the wrong direction and Americans have had enough,” Pawlenty said. “We need to put freedom first again in America, and stop the out-of-control spending in Washington. The early support for our organization will help us elect candidates who can rein in Washington and renew the promise of freedom.”

Despite the dropoff in the first quarter, Pawlenty's six-month total puts him on pace with former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney's PAC, which raised nearly $3 million in 2009. Romney's PAC hasn't released fundraising totals for the first quarter yet.

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RNC Chairman Michael Steele: 'I've made mistakes'

Michael Steele said Friday that he has made mistakes as chairman of the Republican National Committee (RNC).

During an appearance on Sean Hannity's show on the Fox News Channel, Steele said, "I'm trying to do the best I can as national chairman. I've made mistakes..."

{mosads}Steele also defended himself, saying, "I've got three victories under my belt: New Jersey, Massachusetts and Virginia," referencing the two 2009 governor races and Sen. Scott Brown's (R-Mass.) win in January.

He added, "Look, this is the bottom line: I stay focused very much on winning in November. I'm going to work very hard to make sure more Republicans, more good, fiscal conservatives get into the Senate, into Congress, into the governorships, into the state legislatures this November."

Steele has been made a series of gaffes since taking over at the RNC. He has also attracted criticism from GOP officials on how the RNC has spent some of its money in the 2010 cycle.

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