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RNC's Duncan: GOP Can Make Comeback in 2010

Monday, 22 Dec 2008 02:22 PM

By Jim Meyers

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Republican National Committee Chairman Mike Duncan tells Newsmax he has a plan to turn around the fortunes of his party and believes the GOP can make a successful comeback in 2010.

He also says Democrats in Illinois are reluctant to call for a special election to fill Barack Obama’s Senate seat because they fear they could lose.

Asked by Newsmax’s Ashley Martella about Republicans’ disappointing showing on Election Day, Duncan cited the difficulty of winning three straight presidential elections, and conceded: “It was a difficult day for us.

“We had strong political headwinds — an unpopular war, even though I believe it was a just war, and an economic downturn that’s turned into the recession. That happened on Sept. 15, and our polling showed we were ahead on Sept. 15. So it was a difficult election for us.”

[Editor's Note: Watch the Mike Duncan interview - Go Here Now]

Martella asked why, given the problems facing the Republican Party, Duncan wants to continue in his chairman position, and what he can do to help GOP candidates.

“Actually I believe I learned a great deal in the last cycle,” he responded.

“I had a lot of help. Obviously I had Senator [Mel] Martinez as the general chairman, and then we got a candidate in March.

“I think when you have the White House, [it’s] a different time than when you don’t. The party chairman’s role is different…

“I’m going to start a think tank for ideas for the Republican Party so we can talk about things in terms that [relate to how] people live their lives every day, things that affect people on a daily basis.

“Also I believe I understand how we need to increase the use of technology here at the RNC.

“I have a 10-point plan I’m unrolling right now to the members of the RNC and I’m asking them for a second term.”

Martella noted that Duncan has called for a special election in Illinois to fill Obama’s Senate seat now that Gov. Rod Blagojevich has been charged with scheming to sell the seat for campaign cash or a plum job for himself. The Illinois legislature had refused to allow an election, however.

But Duncan said: “We haven’t given up. We’re asking the legislature to come back into session.

“We had the senator from Illinois [Democrat Dick Durbin] saying we should have a special election. [Michael] Madigan, the speaker, said that. The president of the Senate [Emil Jones] said that. Then they decided that maybe [they] will lose the election.

“But there’s a sense of urgency here. You’ve got a situation where the governor was doing a pay for play in Illinois. It’s tainted if he makes any kind of appointment. The impeachment process for him is going to take a period of time. It doesn’t appear that he is going to resign. The people of Illinois are not going to have a senator to replace President-elect Obama and we believe that they should be able to vote on it.

“These are extraordinary times. This is a way to cleanse the process in Illinois and we’re continuing to call for that.

“We’re doing radio, some TV ads that we’re helping to sponsor. We’re doing Internet ads, banner ads. We’re doing phone calls to the legislators asking them to come back into session and give the people of Illinois a chance to choose their next United States Senator.”

Martella pointed out that with loss of Christopher Shays in Connecticut on Nov. 4, there are now no Republicans in the House delegation from New England.

“Obviously that’s a disappointment,” Duncan said.

“I’m talking to the members in the Northeast about what we do about that and I have plans matching up our candidates with the districts better.

“I have plans of going into these districts starting early with recruitment. The fact is that we’ve got to be able to recruit candidates that match the district and we’ve got to be able to help those candidates fund their campaigns.

“So we have a plan in place, and working with local leaders we think that we will be able to field a great number of candidates and we will be successful in the 2010 cycle.”

[Editor's Note: Watch the Mike Duncan interview - Go Here Now]

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