With less than two months to go before Election Day, Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele is focusing his energies on trying to elect Republicans in … Guam?
The embattled RNC chair has spent the last several days on a campaign tour that's distinctly unusual -- at least by the standards of how predecessors have typically kicked off the heart of campaign season in tough national campaigns. Rather than visiting key battleground states and districts to raise campaign cash, Steele has lately been stumping for GOP candidates in Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands. Late last month, he made appearances in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. These are odd destinations, to put it mildly, for the runup to critical midterm election -- but, as CNN's Peter Hamby notes, these are all areas that helped Steele win the RNC chairmanship in '09. Steele's new island tour, Hamby surmises, could be a sign that he is trying to shore up support for another run next year.
Not surprisingly, Steele's 2010 island tour has inspired all kinds of anonymous griping among GOP officials. One RNC member told The Upshot that Steele "should be more focused on raising money and electing Republicans than on his own political future." Yet the decision to scarper off the continent makes its own kind of campaign sense, since few GOP congressional hopefuls are likely to be all that keen on photo-ops with the controversy-prone RNC chair.Read More »from Steele stumps for Republicans halfway around the world