Gentry Collins, the former political director of the Republican National Committee, announced Sunday that he is dropping out of the race for chairman of the RNC.
“It is after much consideration and thought that I announce my withdrawal from the race for Chairman of the RNC,” he wrote in a statement. “I believe that there are several qualified candidates in the race for Chairman, each of whom would do a fine job leading the committee through the 2012 Election cycle.”
Collins stepped down as political director after the November elections, and his resignation letter detailed the problems that the RNC has had during Chairman Michael Steele’s tenure. He announced his bid for the chairmanship a few weeks later. In his Sunday announcement, Collins took credit for changing the shape of the race.
“My resignation letter put forward concrete facts about the financial condition of the RNC in blunt terms, and it resonated with members of the Committee,” Collins wrote. “In it, I called for a change in leadership at the RNC and since then what I revealed to Committee Members has been validated. As it turns out, I believe that the memo has been a game-changer for Chairman Steele’s re-election prospects.”
Yet Collins had trouble getting the public support of the 168 members of the RNC. To get on the ballot at the committee’s winter meeting this month, a candidate must have the support of at least two delegates from each of three states’ or territories’ delegations. According to the Hotline’s RNC whip count, Collins only had the public support of three members: Connecticut GOP Chairman Chris Healy, Iowa GOP Chairman Matt Strawn and North Carolina GOP Chairman Tom Fetzer.
Collins didn’t endorse another candidate in his letter. In addition to Steele, the remaining candidates are former Missouri GOP Chairwoman Ann Wagner, former Republican National Convention CEO Maria Cino, Wisconsin GOP Chairman Reince Priebus and former Michigan GOP Chairman Saul Anuzis.
“Ann, Maria, Reince, and Saul are all outstanding candidates, and any of them would move the committee in a positive direction,” Collins wrote.
The announcement came on the eve of the second debate of the RNC chairman’s race. Sponsored by Americans for Tax Reform and the Daily Caller, the debate will be held Monday afternoon at the National Press Club.
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Following the speeches from elected officials, the crowd stands at long tables as they dig into BBQ, brunswick stew, cadillac rice at the Law Enforcement Cookout at Wayne Dasher's pond house in Glennville, Ga., on Thursday, April 17, 2014.