Steele: 'They don't want me in this job'


Asked by NPR about election-night comments made by Republican Governors Association Chairman Haley Barbour (Miss.) that his group and others had to "scramble around" to raise more money because the RNC lagged in fundraising, Steele fired back. 

ADVERTISEMENT
"Well, I think that's about the fact that they don't want me in this job, to put it rather bluntly," Steele said. "That has been a concerted effort since I got the job."

Coming off a cycle in which the Republicans took control of the House by gaining at least 60 seats and made a six-seat gain in the Senate, Steele last week claimed credit for helping to build the GOP wave. But questions about the RNC's fundraising and get-out-the-vote efforts continue to dog the chairman, who has made a series of verbal gaffes during his 22-month tenure. 

Steele has come under pressure to defend the RNC's performance this cycle as he mulls a second term as chairman. 

The former Maryland lieutenant governor has touted the RNC's fundraising haul of more than $175 million and his focus on grassroots organizing. But the Democratic National Committee outraised the RNC and the party came under fire for mishandling its finances. 

"You know, look, I see this as a team effort. I think the governor just misspoke, to put it politely," he said, adding that the RNC sent the RGA $13 million in 2009. The RGA took in $30 million the last three months of 2010.

Steele said it would have been tough for the RNC to outraise the DNC with the Democrats having "the most prolific fundraiser in the country in the form of President Obama. They had the United States Senate and the United State Congress. They should be outraising us."

Steele reiterated he has not decided whether to seek a second term.

"The question is is the party ready for efforts to broaden its reach and to empower it to be much more grassroots oriented, to focus more on our states and less on the institution of the RNC," he said. "And if I feel that the party's ready for that, then I'll jump in. If not, I'll do something else."


Steele has taken on skepticism of his chairmanship before, saying in November 2009 that white GOP activists had been "scared of me."