Michael Steele: Brokered Convention Was 'My Goal'

Ex-GOP chair aimed for a more exciting primary season

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Mar 12, 2012 11:05 AM CDT

(Newser) – As the GOP nomination process drags on, odds against Republicans seem to be increasing: Voter turnout has dropped, and independents are fleeing Mitt Romney. Turns out, however, that the lengthy contest is just what the former GOP head sought in the first place. "I wanted a brokered convention," Michael Steele tells Mother Jones. It was "one of my goals" in rearranging the Republican nomination process: Steele hoped his party could emulate the excitement of the Democrats' 2008 primary battle.

"A little chaos is a good thing, particularly in a system that tends to be moribund," Steele notes, saying he was "surprised" at how many people seemed to agree. The former party chairman pushed for new rules that prevented an excess of early primaries and awarded some states' delegates proportionally, enabling candidates to stay in the race even without outright wins in major contests. But with a seemingly interminable race continuing, top Republicans are criticizing the effort; Chris Christie calls it "the dumbest idea anybody ever had." Still, Steele is defiant: "We have captured the national imagination for the last year."

In this Nov. 2, 2010 file photo, Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele speaks during an election night gathering in Washington.
In this Nov. 2, 2010 file photo, Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele speaks during an election night gathering in Washington.   (AP Photo/Cliff Owen, File)
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