|64th Chairperson of the Republican National Committee|
January 30, 2009 – January 14, 2011
|Preceded by||Mike Duncan|
|Succeeded by||Reince Priebus|
|7th Lieutenant Governor of Maryland|
January 15, 2003 – January 17, 2007
|Preceded by||Kathleen Kennedy Townsend|
|Succeeded by||Anthony Brown|
October 19, 1958 |
Andrews Field, Maryland, U.S.
|Spouse(s)||Andrea Derritt (1985–present)|
|Alma mater||Johns Hopkins University
Michael Stephen Steele (born October 19, 1958) is an American politician and MSNBC political analyst as of May 2011. Steele served as the first African-American chairman of the Republican National Committee from January 2009 until January 2011. From 2003 to 2007, he was the seventh Lieutenant Governor of Maryland, the first African American elected to statewide office in Maryland. During his time as Lieutenant Governor, he chaired the Minority Business Enterprise taskforce, actively promoting an expansion of affirmative action in the corporate world.
In 2006, Steele made an unsuccessful run for the U.S. Senate, losing to Democrat Ben Cardin. He then served as chairman of GOPAC, the political training organization of the Republican party, was a political commentator for Fox News and a partner at the law firm of LeBoeuf, Lamb, Greene & MacRae LLP before making his bid for RNC Chairman. He co-founded the Republican Leadership Council, a "fiscally conservative and socially inclusive" political action committee, in 1993. On December 13, 2010, he announced his intentions to seek a second term as Republican National Committee Chair. On January 14, 2011, after four rounds of voting, Steele dropped out of the race and endorsed Maria Cino. Reince Priebus went on to win the election to succeed Steele. He commenced as a columnist for online magazine The Root in May 2011.
- 1 Early life
- 2 Political development
- 3 Lieutenant Governor of Maryland
- 4 2006 campaign for U.S. Senate
- 5 After the Senate race
- 6 RNC Chairman
- 7 After the chairmanship
- 8 Political positions
- 9 Right Now
- 10 Notes
- 11 References
- 12 External links
Steele was born on October 19, 1958, at Andrews Air Force Base in Prince George's County, Maryland, and was adopted as an infant by William and Maebell Steele. William died in 1962. Maebell, who had been born into a sharecropping family in South Carolina, worked for minimum wage as a laundress to raise her children. After Michael's father died, she ignored her friends' appeals to apply for public assistance, later telling Michael "I didn't want the government raising my children". She later married John Turner, a truck driver. Michael and his sister, Monica Turner, were raised in the Petworth neighborhood of Northwest Washington, D.C., which Steele has described as a small, stable and racially integrated community that insulated him from some of the problems elsewhere in the city. Steele's sister later married and divorced former heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson.
Steele attended Archbishop Carroll Roman Catholic High School in Washington, D.C., participating in the Glee Club, the National Honor Society and many of the school's drama productions. During his senior year, he was elected student council president.
Steele then spent three years preparing for the Catholic priesthood at the Augustinian Friars Seminary at Villanova University, teaching high school classes in world history and economics for one year at Malvern Preparatory School in Malvern, Pennsylvania. He left the seminary prior to ordination.
He then enrolled at the Georgetown University Law Center, attending classes at night and receiving his Juris Doctor in 1991. He failed the Maryland bar exam, but then passed the Pennsylvania bar exam.
Steele was employed as a corporate securities associate at the Washington, D.C. office of Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton. From 1991 to 1997, he specialized in financial investments for Wall Street underwriters, working at Cleary's Tokyo, Japan, office on major product liability litigation and at its London office on corporate matters. He left the law firm and founded the Steele Group, a business and legal consulting firm.
After joining the Republican Party, he became chairman of the Prince George's County Republican Central Committee. He was a founding member of the centrist, fiscally conservative and socially inclusive Republican Leadership Council in 1993 but left in 2008 citing disagreements over endorsing primary candidates. In 1995, the Maryland Republican Party selected him as their Republican Man of the Year. He worked on several political campaigns, was an Alternate Delegate to the 1996 Republican National Convention and a Delegate to the 2000 Republican National Convention.
Lieutenant Governor of Maryland
In 2002, Robert Ehrlich, who was running for Maryland Governor, selected Steele as his running mate for Lieutenant Governor. The campaign was waged against Democrat Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, who was running for Governor and Charles R. Larson who was running for Lieutenant Governor.
In the September primary election, Ehrlich and Steele had no serious opposition. In the November 2002 general election, the Republican Ehrlich-Steele ticket won, 51 percent to 48 percent even though Maryland traditionally votes Democratic and had not elected a Republican Governor in almost 40 years. The Townsend-Larson campaign had been tainted by outgoing Democratic governor Parris Glendening's marital problems and backlash due to his strict enforcement of environmental regulations.
Steele's most prominent efforts for the Ehrlich administration were reforming the state's Minority Business Enterprise program and chairing the Governor's Commission on Quality Education in Maryland. Steele garnered criticism for his failure to oppose Ehrlich's reinstitution of the death penalty, despite claims of racial inequities in the use of the death penalty, Steele's own religious beliefs and his prior anti-death penalty pronouncements.
In 2005, Steele was named an Aspen Institute Rodel Fellow in Public Leadership and was awarded the Bethune-DuBois Institute Award for his continuing efforts to improve the quality education in Maryland.
At the 2004 Republican National Convention, Steele gave the Republican counterpoint to Barack Obama's 2004 Democratic National Convention keynote address; it was Steele's first major national exposure. In April 2005, President Bush chose him to be a member of the U.S. delegation at the investiture of Pope Benedict XVI in Vatican City.
2006 campaign for U.S. Senate
When Paul Sarbanes, Maryland's longest-serving United States Senator, announced in March 2005 that he would not be a candidate for re-election in 2006, top state and national Republican officials began pressing Steele to become their party's nominee for the seat. In April 2005, The Baltimore Sun announced the results of a poll it conducted, stating that Steele would run statistically neck and neck against either former NAACP head Kweisi Mfume, or Rep. Benjamin L. Cardin of Baltimore County. Steele formally announced his candidacy for the U.S. Senate on October 25, 2005.
Steele won the Republican nomination after facing little opposition in the primary. His opponents were Democrat Ben Cardin and Independent Kevin Zeese (who was endorsed by the Green and Libertarian parties). The three candidates participated in three debates. Cardin primarily attacked Steele over his close relations with President Bush. Steele focused on low taxes, less government spending, free markets and national security.
Steele lost the general election to Cardin on November 7, 2006, 44 percent to Cardin's 55 percent. Steele's former campaign finance chairman later alleged improprieties in Steele's handling of campaign funds, which Steele denied.
After the Senate race
One day after Steele conceded defeat in the Senate election, Chris Cillizza of the Washington Post reported that Steele was hoping to succeed Ken Mehlman as the chairman of the Republican National Committee. Senator Mel Martinez of Florida, who had the endorsement of President George W. Bush, got the position.
In February 2007, Steele became chairman of GOPAC, a political action committee that helps fund state and local Republican campaigns around the country and is responsible for training future Republican candidates. He succeeded former U.S. Congressman J.C. Watts, a fellow black Republican. In April 2007, Steele joined the international law firm of Dewey & LeBoeuf, as a partner in the firm's Washington, D.C. office.
At a speech given at the Media Research Center's 2007 DisHonors Awards Gala, Steele said:
|“||I get a question all the time, 'Are you going to run again for office?' And I've thought about that, and I've come to realize that there's still some Democrats out there that I haven't ticked off yet. So, yeah, we're gonna do it again. We're gonna do it again, and all I have to say is, they haven't seen anything yet.||”|
Steele appeared several times on HBO's political show Real Time with Bill Maher, and was on Comedy Central's talk show The Colbert Report on January 23, 2007. He also hosted a PBS Republican Primary debate in Baltimore, Maryland on September 27, 2007.
On November 24, 2008 Steele launched his campaign for the RNC chairmanship with the launching of his website. On January 30, 2009, Steele won the chairmanship of the RNC in the sixth round, with 91 votes to Dawson's 77. Steele, the Republican Party's first African American chief, was selected in the aftermath of President Obama's election, when many in the GOP saw him as a charismatic counter to the first black president.
|Candidate||Round 1||Round 2||Round 3||Round 4||Round 5||Round 6|
- Candidate won that Round of voting
- Candidate withdrew
- Candidate won RNC Chairmanship
Leadership dispute with Rush Limbaugh
On March 1, 2009 in response to a question on CBS's Face the Nation as to who spoke for the Republican Party, President Obama's chief of staff Rahm Emanuel said it was Rush Limbaugh because "whenever a Republican criticizes [Limbaugh], they have to run back and apologize to him, and say they were misunderstood. He is the voice and the intellectual force and energy behind the Republican Party. And he has been upfront about what he views, and hasn't stepped back from that, which is he hopes for [President Obama's] failure. He said it. And I compliment him for his honesty, but that's their philosophy that is enunciated by Rush Limbaugh."
In remarks aired by the CNN program D.L. Hughley Breaks the News on March 1, 2009, Steele said he, rather than Limbaugh, is "the de facto leader of the Republican Party. Rush Limbaugh is an entertainer. Rush Limbaugh's whole thing is entertainment. Yes, it is incendiary. Yes, it is ugly." On March 2, 2009 Limbaugh said on his radio show that Steele is not fit to lead the Republican Party, asking of him "Why do you claim to lead the Republican Party when you seem obsessed with seeing to it President Obama succeeds?" After the show Steele called Limbaugh to apologize, saying "I have enormous respect for Rush Limbaugh. I was maybe a little bit inarticulate. There was no attempt on my part to diminish his voice or his leadership. I went back at that tape and I realized words that I said weren't what I was thinking. It was one of those things where I thinking I was saying one thing, and it came out differently. What I was trying to say was a lot of people want to make Rush the scapegoat, the bogeyman, and he's not." Steele later issued another statement to say that Limbaugh "is a national conservative leader, and in no way do I want to diminish his voice. I truly apologize."
Fire Pelosi Bus Tour
In the fall of 2010, Steele launched the "Fire Pelosi Bus Tour," with the focus of taking over the United States House of Representatives, and thus "firing" Speaker Pelosi from her position as Speaker of the House of Representatives. The tour began on September 15 and lasted 6 weeks, visiting 48 states in the Continental U.S., with stops in more than 100 cities while covering 14,000 miles. The tours purpose was to "encourage votes for Republicans in districts across the nation." The stops in individual districts gave Steele, "known for his bomb-throwing speaking style," an opportunity to fire up local GOP activists. During the tour, "Steele urged party unity" as the Republicans attempted to take over the House of Representatives and end Representative Pelosi's term as Speaker of the House.
The RNC broke fundraising records (over $198 million raised during the 2010 Congressional cycle) and Republicans won 63 House seats, the biggest pickup since 1938, thus giving Republicans back control of the house. The 2010 mid-term elections were overall successful for Steele and the Republicans, as they also won six senate seats, seven governorships and the greatest share of state legislative seats since 1928 (over 600 seats). .
In December 2010, Steele declared that he would run for re-election as RNC chair. The 2011 Republican National Committee (RNC) chairmanship election was held on January 14, 2011, to determine the next chairman of the RNC, who would serve a two-year term ending in 2013 and would lead the party through the 2012 general elections. Steele withdrew from the chairperson race after the fourth ballot, urging his supporters to vote for Maria Cino. After seven rounds of balloting, Reince Priebus was elected chairman over incumbent chair Steele, Saul Anuzis, Ann Wagner and Maria Cino.
|Candidate||Round 1||Round 2||Round 3||Round 4||Round 5||Round 6||Round 7|
- Candidate won majority of votes in the round
- Candidate secured a plurality of votes in the round
- Candidate withdrew
After the chairmanship
After his loss in the chairmanship election, Steele was hired by MSNBC to be a regular political analyst as of May 2011. He also was hired to be a columnist for the online magazine The Root, an African-American news and commentary site owned by The Washington Post Company.
On C-SPAN's Washington Journal on the Sunday after the 2012 Obama reelection victory, Steele expressed some interest in running for RNC Chairman again. Steele emphasized the need to make conservative minorities feel comfortable and welcome in a party that offered them opportunities to launch political careers in counties and statehouses.
Steele's book, Right Now: A 12-Step Program for Defeating the Obama Agenda, was released on January 4, 2010; it was published by Regnery Publishing, ISBN 978-1-59698-108-9. The Associated Press reported that, "Steele focuses much of the book on familiar GOP denunciations of President Barack Obama's overall policies (a roadmap to failure), the $787 billion stimulus bill (a reckless, wasteful, pork-laden spending spree), liberal views on manmade global warming (A threat to life on Earth? Depends on whom you ask) and other issues. To regain the public confidence, Steele says the GOP should, among other things, expose the reign of error inherent in liberal policies, contrast conservative and liberal principles, and highlight the damage caused by Obama's policies while explaining conservative solutions."
- Terbush, Jon (May 23, 2011). "Michael Steele Joins MSNBC As Political Analyst". Talking Points Memo LiveWire (TPM Media). Retrieved January 24, 2013.
- Associated Press (January 30, 2009). "Michael Steele wins RNC chairmanship race". msnbc.msn.com. MSNBC. Retrieved November 13, 2009.
- "Michael Steele on Civil Rights". issues2000.org. On the Issues. Retrieved January 28, 2010.
- Ham, Mary Katherine (November 20, 2008). "Michael Steele: I Left Moderate Republican Group This Spring". The Weekly Standard. Retrieved February 20, 2009.
- Sources Say Steele Will Seek Second Term As RNC Chair
- Politico (2011). "Michael Steele joins The Root as columnist". Retrieved May 2, 2011.
- "Nominations and Appointments" (Press release). The White House. March 1, 2002. Archived from the original on January 20, 2009. Retrieved January 30, 2009.
- "Michael S. Steele, Maryland Lt. Governor". Maryland Manual Online. Maryland State Archives. September 20, 2006. Retrieved January 14, 2011.
- Burton, Danielle (April 7, 2008). "10 Things You Didn't Know About Michael Steele". U.S. News and World Report. Retrieved February 4, 2009.
- "The GOP's Man With a Mission; Md. Party Chief Michael Steele Hopes to Draw More Blacks Into Fold". Washington Post. May 10, 2001. Retrieved March 30, 2009.
- Depaulo, Lisa (March 11, 2009). "The Reconstructionist". GQ Editor's Blog. GQ. Archived from the original on March 24, 2009. Retrieved March 30, 2009.
- Duffy, Jim (April 2005). "Mother Knows Best". Johns Hopkins Magazine.
- Mosk, Matthew (October 18, 2006). "Endorsement: Tyson Ready to Enter The Ring for Steele; Boxer Says He Would Fight if It Helped". Washington Post. p. B02. Retrieved February 1, 2009.
- Skalka, Jennifer; Brown, Matthew Hay (October 22, 2006). "A personality for politics". The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved January 30, 2010.
- Fournier, Deacon Keith (January 31, 2009). "Opinion: Michael Steele, Black, Pro-Life Catholic Takes the Helm of the G.O.P.". Catholic Online. Retrieved January 30, 2009.
- "Lt. Governor Michael S. Steele" (PDF). The Navigator. Calvert County Chamber of Commerce. October 2004. p. 7. Retrieved February 17, 2009.
- Messenger, Brittany (September 18, 2009). "GOP chair shares personal journey in diversity lecture". Colgate University. Retrieved January 30, 2010.
- Jodi Kantor, "New Chairman Boos G.O.P. When He's Not Cheerleading", The New York Times, March 7, 2009 (in print March 8, 2009, p. A1 NY edition). Retrieved March 8, 2009.
- Sokolove, Michael (March 26, 2006). "Why Is Michael Steele a Republican Candidate?". New York Times Magazine. Retrieved January 10, 2009.
- "Leader and Party Builder". Michael Steele for RNC Chairman. Retrieved February 4, 2009.[dead link]
- "Vatican prepares to install pope". CNN. April 24, 2005.
Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, President Bush's brother, heads the U.S. delegation, which includes Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael Steele; Knights of Columbus CEO Carl A. Anderson; Helen Alvary, an associate professor of law at Catholic University of America; and Frank Hanley, president emeritus of the International Union of Operating Engineers.
- Green, Andrew A. (April 18, 2005). "Steele attracts strong support in Senate race". The Baltimore Sun. Archived from the original on September 30, 2007. Retrieved January 10, 2009.
- "Michael Steele Announces Run for U.S. Senate". findarticles.com (National Right to Life News). November 2005. Retrieved January 31, 2010.
- Steele, Michael (2008-02-08). "Michael Steele : Now Is the Time to Act". Townhall.com. Retrieved 2010-01-13.
- "Democrat Cardin Wins Open Senate Seat in Maryland, Defeating Republican Steele". Fox News. November 7, 2006. Retrieved November 10, 2006.
- Lipton, Eric (February 7, 2009). "New G.O.P. Chairman Defends Payment to Sister". The New York Times. Retrieved May 14, 2009.
- Cillizza, Chris (November 8, 2006). "Michael Steele for Republican National Chairman?". Washington Post.
- "Michael S. Steele, Partner". Dewey & LeBoeuf LLP. 2008. Retrieved October 28, 2008.
- "Former Maryland Lt. Governor Michael Steele accepts the award on behalf of Arthur Sulzberger" (video). Media Research Center's 20th Anniversary Gala. Media Research Center. March 29, 2007.
- Gizzi, John (May 8, 2008). "McCain's Veepstakes: Michael Steele". Human Events. Retrieved May 9, 2008.
- "Michael Steele rules out presidential run". Retrieved July 21, 2010.
- "Michael Steele" (video of interview with Colbert). Colbert Nation. January 23, 2007. Retrieved January 10, 2009.
- "Baltimore, Maryland, presidential debate on PBS". Keyes Archives. Alan Keyes. September 27, 2007. Archived from the original on July 31, 2008. Retrieved January 10, 2009.
- Hughes, Siobhan (September 3, 2008). "Steele Gives GOP Delegates New Cheer: 'Drill, Baby, Drill!'". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved February 3, 2009.
- Reiter, Daniel. "Steele Website Goes Live". Politicker.com.[dead link]
- Burns, Alexander (2009-01-30). "It's Steele!". Politico. Retrieved 2009-01-30.
- West, Paul (December 12, 2010). "Rivals lining up to run against Republican National Committee chief". Los Angeles Times.
- CQ Politics (January 30, 2009). "Republican Choose Michael Steele as Party Chairman".
- PollPundit.com (January 30, 2009). "RNC Chairman Vote: Live Coverage".
- Transcript: Rahm Emanuel on CBS's 'Face the Nation', CQ Politics, March 1, 2009
- Limbaugh the Leader? Obama Chief of Staff Calls Talk Show Host a Barrier to Progress, Fox News, March 1, 2009
- White House aide casts Limbaugh as top GOP voice, Associated Press, March 1, 2009 Archived March 4, 2009 at the Wayback Machine
- GOP chairman Steele backs off Limbaugh criticism, CNN, March 2, 2009
- Allen, Mike Steele to Rush: I'm sorry, Politico, March 2, 2009
- GOP chairman apologizes for Limbaugh remarks, Associated Press, March 3, 2009[dead link]
- Condon, Stephanie (2010-08-06). "GOP to Launch "Fire Pelosi" Bus Tour". CBS News. Retrieved 2011-02-11.
- Braver, Rita (2010-10-17). "Nancy Pelosi Fires Back". CBS News. Retrieved 2011-02-11.
- Lester, Kerry (2010-10-14). "'Fire Pelosi Bus Tour' not joint endeavor". Daily Herald. Retrieved 2011-02-11.
- Gavin, Patrick (2010-09-16). "The List: RNC's 'Fire Pelosi' Bus Tour". The Politico. Retrieved 2011-02-11.
- "RNC's "Fire Pelosi" bus tour stops in Waco". CBS. 2010-09-26. Retrieved 2011-02-11.
- Knickerbocker, Brad (2010-09-15). "Michael Steele's 'Fire Pelosi' bus tour: 48 states or bust". The Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved 2011-02-11.
- Krotzer, Chelsea (2010-10-10). "Republican leader urges party faithful to 'Fire Pelosi'". Billings Gazette. Retrieved 2011-02-11.
- Hamby, Peter (2010-09-24). "Steele's bus tour draws crowds, but also critics". CNN. Retrieved 2011-02-11.
- Bowman, Quinn (2010-09-15). "RNC Chairman Steele Urges Unity as He Rolls Out 'Fire Pelosi' Bus Tour". PBS. Retrieved 2011-02-11.
- Chris Cillizza, "Election 2010: Republicans net 60 House seats, 6 Senate seats and 7 governorships", Washington Post, November 3, 2010.
- What's Next for Michael Steele and the RNC?
- Shear, Michael D. (2010-12-19). "Voting Begins for RNC Chairman – NYTimes.com". Thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com. Retrieved 2011-01-16.
- Terbush, Jon (May 23, 2011). "Michael Steele Joins MSNBC As Political Analyst". Talking Points Memo LiveWire (TPM Media). Retrieved January 24, 2013.
- Politico (2011). Michael Steele joins The Root as columnist. Retrieved May 2, 2011.
- "Future of the Republican Party" Presenter: Steve Scully. Washington Journal. C-Span. 2012-11-11. 60 minutes in.
- "GOP Chief: Republicans 'Screwed Up' After Reagan". Fox News. Associated Press. Jan 5, 2010. Retrieved Apr 10, 2014.
- Green, Andrew A. (April 18, 2005). "Steele attracts strong support in Senate race". The Baltimore Sun.
- Milbank, Diana (July 26, 2006). "For One Senate Candidate, the 'R' Is a 'Scarlet Letter". Washington Post.
- Mosk, Matthew (March 28, 2005). "With Sarbanes Retiring, Senate Interest Simmers". Washington Post.
- Mosk, Matthew (July 11, 2006). "Steele's Web Site Parades Democrats: Hoyer Wants Photo Removed; Mfume Also Pictured". Washington Post. p. B05.
- Nitkin, David (July 17, 2005). "Steele calls on club to admit blacks". Baltimore Sun.
- "Michael Steele Joins Presidential Delegation In Rome" (Reprinted by the Hedgehog Report). Baltimore Sun. April 23, 2005.
- State of Maryland Office of Minority Affairs, MBE Commission, February 27, 2004
- "State Party Biography of Lt. Governor Michael S. Steele". Maryland Republican Party.
- Stratton, LaShell (April 7, 2003). "Mr. Steele goes to Annapolis: A D.C. kid really can grow up to be lieutenant governor". The Common Denominator.
- "The Honorable Michael Steele (biographical summary)" (PDF). The Public Forum Institute.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Michael Steele.|
- Financial information (federal office) at the Federal Election Commission
- Works by or about Michael Steele in libraries (WorldCat catalog)
- Interviews and statements
- Appearances on C-SPAN
- Interview with The Daily Show's Jon Stewart, February 1, 2011
- Interview with Michael Steele on Fox News with Chris Wallace, December 22, 2009
- Interview with Michael Steele by The American View, audio
- "GOP's Steele Tells Party To Look Forward, Not Backward" by Michael Steele
- "10 Things You Didn't Know About Michael Steele", from U.S. News and World Report, April 7, 2008.
Kathleen Kennedy Townsend
|Lieutenant Governor of Maryland
|Party political offices|
|Republican nominee for U.S. Senator from Maryland
J. C. Watts
|Chairperson of GOPAC
|Chairperson of the Republican National Committee