Michael Steele Elected RNC Chairman
Former Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael Steele drew congratulations from Maryland Republicans and even his Democratic successor after being chosen today as the first black national chairman of the Republican Party. James Pelura, chairman of the Maryland Republican Party, said of Steele's victory that he was "proud to death that he's the face of the Republican Party." Pelura said he believed Steele has a "50-state vision" that the party needs. "It's very important that we cannot take any place for granted anymore," Pelura said. Patt Parker, president of the Maryland Federation of Republican Women, said in a statement that Maryland Republicans "are proud to have Michael Steele lead in rebuilding our party." "We have seen the difference he made in Maryland and look forward to seeing the difference he will make across the country," Parker said in a statement."With Michael, we have a new voice, a new vision, and a powerful new leader." Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown, a Democrat, issued a statement congratulating Steele, who lives in Prince George's County like Brown. "I sincerely congratulate my predecessor and neighbor, Michael Steele, for being elected chairman of the Republican National Committee," Brown said. "I wish Lt. Governor Steele the best in his new role." Steele, 50, has been working as the head of GOPAC, an organization that recruits and trains Republican political candidates. He also has made frequent appearances on political talk shows. Steele was head of the Maryland Republican Party before being elected lieutenant governor in 2002 as the first black candidate elected statewide in Maryland. Steele made an unsuccessful run for U.S. Senate against Democratic Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin in November 2006 by a margin of 55 percent to 44 percent.