Blackwell/Benkiser Unity Ticket

Amanda Carpenter
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Posted: Dec 17, 2008 7:19 PM
Marc Ambinder isn't the first person I've heard say the Blackwell/Benkiser alliance in the race for RNC Chair is a big play for the religious right. There are also a lot of murmurings about how this kind of play could take enough votes away from Steele and Saltsman to leave current Chairman Mike Duncan as the default winner.

I recently spoke with someone very involved in the race who classified Duncan as the "status quo," Steele as the "popular Washington candidate," Blackwell as the "religious one" Anuzis as the "reformer longshot," Saltsman as the "Southern one" and Dawson as the one "with the big PR problem." (Meaning Dawson's affiliation with the whites-only country club. A lot of people I talk to dread this being mentioned at the end of every story about the RNC if he ever became Chair.)

The problem is, no one knows exactly how many evangelical RNC members are going to feel wedded to the Blackwell/Benkiser ticket. It might not be enough to disrupt things, it might be. No one thinks it's enough for them to win outright. What everyone seems most worried about is if it's enough to knock some other contenders (namely Steele and Saltsman) and set it up for Duncan to keep his title.