Mike Duncan says he won't run for his old job as RNC chair

12/17/2010 02:54 PM

Mike Duncan, the Inez banker who serves as chairman of the GOP group American Crossroads, said in a statement Friday that he will not join the flock of Republicans who hope to lead the Republican National Committee.

R. Michael Duncan, chairman of American Crossroads and former RNC chair

Duncan, who served as RNC chairman from 2007 to 2009, said he would not be able to devote the time and effort needed. He said he will continue to serve as chairman of American Crossroads. That group and its sister organization Crossroads GPS raised and spent a total of $70 million in the 2010 election to help Republican candidates.

“While I was able to devote the requisite time and energy to run the Committee during my 2007-2009 tenure, changes in my family, business and outside responsibilities make it impossible for me to devote the time needed to effectively lead the RNC over the next two years,” Duncan said in the statement.

Duncan didn’t endorse any candidate for the job but did take a jab at current RNC Chairman Michael Steele by saying the next chairman must bring the committee out of debt.

(His full statement is below.)

Duncan’s announcement comes at the end of a week in which Steele, the former lieutenant governor of Maryland, announced on a conference call that he intends to seek another term.

Others seeking the top post at the RNC are:

  • Saul Anuzis, former Michigan Republican Party chairman
  • Maria Cino, former fund-raiser for President George W. Bush
  • Gentry Collins, recently left the RNC where he was political director
  • Reince Priebus, Wisconsin Republican Party chairman
  • Ann Wagner, former Missouri Republican Party chairwoman

Duncan jump-started the speculation that he might run when he was a late addition to the roster of candidates attending a RNC chairman candidate debate hosted by Freedomworks, a tea party movement group, on Dec. 1. He was such a late entry that his name tag was hand-written instead of typed, the National Review reported.

At that discussion, Gentry Collins predicted that the RNC would have to raise more than $400 million for the 2012 election cycle.

During the 2008 election cycle, Duncan helped raise that amount — more than $400 million — for the RNC and its voter turnout efforts.

Here’s Duncan’s statement:

“The 2012 political season will be the most vigorous in American history. The next RNC chairman must be available seven days a week to raise nearly one million dollars each deposit day – to fund party programs necessary to win back the White House, elect a Republican majority in the U.S. Senate, retain Republican control of the U.S. House, and conduct a successful decennial redistricting. While I was able to devote the requisite time and energy to run the Committee during my 2007-2009 tenure, changes in my family, business and outside responsibilities make it impossible for me to devote the time needed to effectively lead the RNC over the next two years.

“The next chairman of the RNC faces tremendous challenges in lifting the committee out of debt, preparing for the next presidential nominee, and restoring the RNC to its place as the premier political organization in the United States. With the American Dream being destroyed by Barack Obama and the Democrats’ reckless economic policies and lack of leadership on the global stage, the stakes are so high that, to save America, we must change the leadership at the top of the committee.

“I greatly appreciate those RNC members who urged me to run – and I would not have considered entering the race without your encouragement. I also appreciate the elected officials, friends and complete strangers who contacted and encouraged me about the race.

Ecclesiastes 3:1 reads, ‘To everything there is a season and a time to every purpose under the heaven.’ And while it is not the season for me to run for RNC chairman, I will continue in the mission to provide competent, conservative leadership for the Republican Party. I will continue my association with American Crossroads, and I look forward to independently complimenting the efforts of the next RNC chairman.”

Duncan also served as general counsel of the RNC from 2002 to 2007.

- Ryan Alessi

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