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Norm Coleman says he'd seek RNC chair if Michael Steele bows out

Former Minnesota Sen. Norm Coleman says he would be interested in the post only if Michael Steele decides not to seek a second term.

November 24, 2010|By Tom Hamburger, Tribune Washington Bureau

Reporting from Washington — Former Minnesota Sen. Norm Coleman, who led the American Action Network, an independent group that spent $25 million on behalf of Republican candidates this year, said Wednesday that he would be interested in chairing the Republican National Committee only if the current chairman, Michael Steele, chooses not to seek a second term.

"I am not here to do any battles with our chairman; he is a friend," Coleman said in a C-SPAN interview to be broadcast Sunday. If Steele decides to retire from the post, Coleman said "I would say with humility if there was an opportunity to help the party I would do that."

Several other candidates have been rumored as interested in the RNC position including Gentry Collins, former political director at the Republican National Committee; Maria Cino, who served in the Transportation Department under former President George W. Bush; and former Michigan Republican Party chair Saul Anuzis.

Coleman served as a Minnesota senator for one term, losing to Democrat Al Franken in 2008 after an extended recount.

On Wednesday Coleman also said he thought it was time for Joe Miller to stop contesting his race against Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski, who ran as a write-in candidate after Miller defeated her in the state's Republican primary.

After election day, the number of write-in votes exceeded Miller's total. A subsequent counting of those ballots showed most were for Murkowski, putting her in the lead.

In a lawsuit, Miller claims election officials have illegally counted some ballots for Murkowski, including ones that misspell the senator's name.

"I think the counting has been done and I am not sure there is anything that would change," Coleman said.

thamburger@tribune.com

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