Former Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael Steele has emerged victorious as Republicans chose him over four other candidates. Mike Duncan the incumbent GOP chief bowed out earlier in the day after declaring, “Obviously the winds of change are blowing.”
Steele’s upbeat message was this is “the dawn of a new party!”
GOP delegates erupted in cheers and applause when his victory was announced. He’ll serve a two-year term.
Steele, an attorney, is a conservative, but is considered the most moderate of the five candidates running. He became the first black candidate elected to statewide office in Maryland in 2003. He made an unsuccessful Senate run in 2006. Currently, Steele serves as chairman of GOPAC, an organization that recruits and trains Republican political candidates, and in that role he has been a frequent presence on the talk show circuit.
He vowed to expand the reach of the party by competing for every group, everywhere. “We’re going to say to friend and foe alike: ‘We want you to be a part of us, we want you to with be with us.’ And for those who wish to obstruct, get ready to get knocked over,” Steele said. “There is not one inch of ground that we’re going to cede to anybody,” he added. “This is the dawn of a new party moving in a new direction with strength and conviction.”
Michael Steele has been a visitor to the Valley, meeting with GOP activists and touting the GOPAC message.
Read his congratulatory statement after the swearing in of Arizona’s 22nd Governor, Jan Brewer, here.