Michael Steele Seeks RNC's Top Spot

Former Maryland Lieutenant Governor Michael Steele has announced that he is running to become Chairman of the Republican National Committee.

"The Republican Party must present a vision for the future of America that relies on our conservative values and core principles," he said in a press release. Steele suggested Republican losses in recent elections did not result from a leftward shift in the electorate.

"It is wrong to believe the voters have suddenly become liberal," he said. "They have just lost any sense of confidence that the Republican Party holds the answers to their problems. We must face the fact that our party has failed in recent years to live up to our own principles -- we have failed to be 'solutions oriented' in addressing the concerns of all Americans."

Steele chaired the Maryland GOP from 2000 to 2002, and, as the Associated Press notes, he became the first black candidate elected to a statewide position in Maryland when he became lieutenant governor in 2003, a position he held until last year.

Among those who plan to or are considering running for the top RNC post are Mike Duncan, who presently holds the position, a number of state party chairmen, Chip Saltsman, who managed Mike Huckabee's presidential campaign, and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.

"Most Americans today see a Republican Party that defines itself by what it is against rather than what it is for," Steele said in the release. "We can tell you why public schools aren't working, but not articulate a compelling vision for how we'll better educate children. We're well equipped to rail against tax increases; but can't begin to explain how we'll help the poor. The success of our Party's resurgence will come from the states -- from our local leaders and from our Governors."