This article originally appeared online at Politico.com on December 7, 2010.
By: Andy Barr
The anti-abortion group Susan B. Anthony List will be co-hosting a debate for the upcoming race for the next Republican National Committee chairmanship, the group announced Monday.
The group is co-hosting the forum with Americans for Tax Reform, which has run previous RNC debates. The January 3 debate will take place shortly before committee members vote for the party’s next leader.
“It is critical that the next RNC chairman sincerely recognize the electoral power of the pro-life movement, can articulate its message, and is prepared to advance its priorities,” said SBA List President Marjorie Dannenfelser. “We look forward to vetting the candidates on life through thoughtful questioning and open discussion.”
The announcement ensures that abortion and other social issues will have to be addressed by the slate of candidates vying to replace RNC Chairman Michael Steele, who has yet to announce if he’s running for reelection.
So far, the candidates already in the race have focused almost exclusively on fundraising and party infrastructure in making their case to the 168 committee members — a sore point for critics of Steele’s leadership given the RNC’s large debts from 2010 and inability to fund get-out-the-vote operations in key midterm states.
Each of the four potential candidates present at the first RNC candidate forum last week argued that the GOP was not able to maximize its gains, especially in the House, because the RNC was not operating at full capacity.
Only three candidates have so far announced their bids to run for chairman: Wisconsin Chairman Reince Priebus, former Michigan Chairman Saul Anuzis and former Missouri Chair Anne Wagner. A handful of other expected candidates, including Steele, former RNC political director Gentry Collins and Maria Cino, a Republican operative and formerly the head of the 2008 GOP convention, are also expected to run.