In Ballot Access News, Richard Winger writes
Ken Blackwell Loses Bid to be Republican National Chair
On January 30, the Republican National Committee chose Michael Steele of Maryland to be its new national chair. One of the other candidates for chair, Ken Blackwell, dropped out and endorsed Steele after placing last in the fourth ballot.
Blackwell, a former Ohio Secretary of State, behaved with hostility toward minor parties and independent candidates while he was Secretary of State in 2003 and 2004. In late 2003, he rejected the Ohio Libertarian Party’s petition because the wording on the petition changed while the party was conducting its petition. When the party started its petition, the petition was supposed to say, “The penalty for election falsification is imprisonment for not more than 6 months or a fine of not more than $1,000 or both.” During the drive, the state changed the petition so that it said instead, “Whoever commits election falsification is guilty of a felony of the 5th degree.” The party didn’t know about the wording change, and was shocked when it submitted the petition and Blackwell rejected it because of the wording.
In 2004, Blackwell rejected Ralph Nader’s independent petition because most of the signatures had been collected by people that perhaps were domiciled outside Ohio (although this was never resolved). At approximately the same time Blackwell rejected Nader’s petition, he waived the rules to allow an initiative petition to appear on the ballot even though its circulators had not been domiciled in Ohio.
Blackwell’s behavior kept Nader off the 2004 ballot, and kept the Libertarian Party off the 2004 ballot (although it qualified its presidential candidate as an independent). However, after the 2004 election was over, courts struck down the Ohio procedure for new parties to qualify, and struck down the Ohio law barring out-of-state circulators from working on an independent candidate petition, so Blackwell’s behavior was ultimately good for ballot access.
At Libertarian Party blog, Donny Ferguson writes,
Michael Steele named RNC chairman…
…and many limited-government types aren’t happy. Prominent blogger Robert Bluey laid out his opposition to Steele’s chair bid in a Jan. 4 posting on RedState.com.
Bluey cites several factors as to why Steele is "the wrong man." Among them are his decision as GOPAC chair to make the group’s third-biggest expenditure a donation to his defunt campaign, mismanagement of his personal finances, his campaigning for politicians who promise to increase government spending, his refusal to sign the Taxpayer Protection Pledge and his likely hiring of Republican National Senate Committee personnel who lost six seats in one cycle and spent $1.2 million on the unsuccessful re-election bid of Lincoln Chaffee.
In a Jan. 12 phone call to Bluey after the posting, Steele reiterated the fact he wants to give pro-government spending Republicans a greater role in the GOP, and stated he even quit one Republican organization after it campaigned for small-government candidates in Republican primaries.
Eric Dondero offers a dissenting opinion in BAN comments:
Michael Steele served as Lt. Governor under libertarian Republican Gov. Bob Erlich. Erlich was a hardcore budget hawk, fiscal conservative, and one of the Republican Party’s leading supports of marijuana decriminalization. Quite a libertarian fellow. And Steele holds very closely to his old boss’s views.
A bit of a stretch to say Michael Steele is a libertarian Republican, but friendly to the libertarian wing of the GOP, absolutely.
Posted to IPR by Paulie