Remember that one-two punch
of bad news Michael Steele endured directly before Monday's RNC debate
? This could be his candidacy's coup de grace
, if it hasn't suffered one already:
Six top Republican contributors - five of them past RNC finance chairmen - sent a letter today to members of the committee detailing the party's financial problems and urging them to pick a new chair to replace Michael Steele.
"In this past election cycle, record fundraising has been achieved by the RGA, the NRCC and the NRSC, while the amount collected by the RNC from our major donor programs has dropped to less than 25% of what the major donor programs raised during the previous comparable time period," the group wrote. "In addition, the cost of internet, direct mail and other electronic fund raising as a percentage of revenue has increased so substantially that it significantly reduced net funds available. A huge majority of our previous donors abandoned the party to switch their support to these other organizations, having lost confidence in the current chairman's ability to inspire and convince donors that their money will be held in sacred trust, not frivolously spent, and then spent only on our mission with well defined and disciplined constraints---to elect Republicans to office."
The missive was signed by former RNC finance chairs Al Hoffman, Howard Leach, Larry Bathgate, Mel Sembler and Dwight Schar as well as Sam Fox, a former chair of the RNC's major donor program and a longtime giver to GOP campaigns.
The RNC's 168 voting members will elect the organization's 2011-2012 chairman next Friday.UPDATE
: Here's Hotline's latest whip count
Reince Priebus -- 33 votes
Michael Steele -- 17
Saul Anuzis -- 14
Ann Wagner -- 12
Maria Cino -- 7