Image: Michael Steele
Cliff Owen  /  AP
Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele speaks in Washington. Steele could disclose late Monday whether he'll seek re-election to the two-year post as several challengers line up to try to succeed him.
By
updated 12/13/2010 9:28:38 PM ET 2010-12-14T02:28:38

Embattled Republican Party chairman Michael Steele announced Monday that he will seek a second term despite a rocky two years marked by allegations of financial mismanagement and frequent verbal gaffes.

After weighing a decision for weeks as challengers lined up, Steele alerted the 168-member Republican National Committee during an evening conference call that he would run, according to participants listening. They spoke on the condition of anonymity because the call was private.

Michael Steele's top 10 gaffes

Steele's troubled first term expires in January, and the committee must then vote on who should run the party's national operations during the 2012 presidential election cycle.

A former Maryland lieutenant governor, Steele was chosen to run the party in January 2009. He became the first black national chairman in the Republican Party's history just shy of three months after the nation elected a Democrat as the first African-American president.

    1. Animated Boehner: 'There's nothing complex about the Keystone Pipeline!'

      House Speaker John Boehner became animated Tuesday over the proposed Keystone Pipeline, castigating the Obama administration for not having approved the project yet.

    2. Budget deficits shrinking but set to grow after 2015
    3. Senate readies another volley on unemployment aid
    4. Obama faces Syria standstill
    5. Fluke files to run in California
    6. Christie acknowledges federal subpoena
    7. Obama says Fox News's O'Reilly 'absolutely' unfair in extended interview
    8. Christie security officer hit with shoplifting charges
  1. More politics
    1. Obama's 2nd year
      AP
    2. Political Cartoons

Steele was considered an outsider because he wasn't part of the RNC's clubby environment. His brash style and unconventional ways irked establishment Republicans from the outset. Questions about his financial management of the RNC followed.

Republican victories up and down the ballot in November didn't quiet Steele's critics. Complaints about Steele's stewardship of the party's national operations only mounted. And he has watched his once strong support within the RNC rank and file all but evaporate as Republican leaders on Capitol Hill and in states across the country signaled they desired new leadership.

First Thoughts: A consequential week

No less than a half dozen Republicans are weighing challenges to Steele or have launched candidacies. The two latest to formally announce bids are Maria Cino, a New York native who served in the Bush administration and planned the party's 2008 nominating convention, and Gentry Collins, who headed the RNC's political department under Steele.

Others in the mix include: Saul Anuzis, a committeeman from Michigan who lost to Steele in the 2009 chairman's race; Reince Priebus, the Wisconsin Republican chairman, and Ann Wagner, a former Missouri state Republican chair and a former ambassador.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Discuss:

Discussion comments

,

Most active discussions

  1. votes comments
  2. votes comments
  3. votes comments
  4. votes comments