In his bid for a second term, RNC Chairman Michael Steele faced-off against challengers to his position in a debate in Washington, D.C.
Chairman Steele defended his work building GOP momentum last year and responded to criticism of his leadership saying, "When I began this job in 2009, we couldn't find anyone to say they were a Republican, let alone run."
He has taken credit for the November mid-term election GOP takeover of the U.S. House and the gain of six Republican seats in the Senate. Still, his contenders have argued that the Tea Party movement and other factors led to the victory, not the current RNC leadership. Steele’s rivals are also critical of his fundraising efforts and the RNC’s estimated $25 million post-election debt.
The five other candidates include former Michigan Republican Chairman Saul Anuzis, former RNC official Maria Cino, and former Ambassador to Luxembourg Ann Wagner. Last night, former RNC Political Director Gentry Collins announced that he was dropping out of the race.