Michael Steele defeated Katon Dawson and was elected the new chairman of the Republican National Committee.
Michael Steele is the first African American ever to achieve this position.
Pundits across cable news are saying Republicans, desperate and fearful since the Presidential election of Barack Obama, elected Steele to regain the minority vote. Steele is not an RNC member and is viewed by some members as an outsider.
The Washington Post reports:
After five ballots, the race came down to Steele and Dawson. Republican party strategists in attendance at the meeting openly fretted about the possibility of electing Dawson, who had acknowledged his membership in a whites-only club, and the signal it would send to a country that had just elected Obama as the nation's first black president.
From Steele's acceptance speech:
"It's time for something completely different and we are going to bring it to them...we are going to bring this party to every boardroom, every neighborhood, every community, and we're gonna say to friend and foe alike we want you to be a part of us. we want you to work with us and for those of you who wish to obstruct, get ready to get knocked over. This is our opportunity. I cannot do this by myself.. New Direction for this country.. Grow and build the Republican Party with this country."
Oreo cookie incident (Oreo Cookie = Black on the outside, white on the inside)
After a September 26, 2002 gubernatorial debate, which had occurred without reported incident, Paul Schurick, Ehrlich's communications manager, claimed that the Townsend campaign handed out Oreo cookies to the audience. Five days after the debate, Steele said that one or more Oreo cookies had rolled to his feet during the debate suggesting a racist statement against him. "Maybe it was just someone having their snack, but it was there," Steele said. "If it happened, shame on them if they are that immature and that threatened by me." At the time of the debate"I was in on the cleanup, and we found no cookies or anything else abnormal. There were no Oreo cookies thrown.", Schurick had not mentioned any such incident, but in November 2005 he claimed "It was raining Oreos... They were thick in the air like locusts. I was there. It was very real. It wasn't subtle."In a November 2005 Hannity and Colmes appearance, Steele agreed with Hannity that cookies were thrown at him. Neil Duke of the Baltimore NAACP, who moderated the debate, praised the "passionate audience" and noted their "derisive behavior"but did not see such behavior. "Were there some goofballs sitting in [the] right-hand corner section tossing cookies amongst themselves and acting like sophomores, as the legend has it?" Duke said. "I have no reason to doubt those sources; I just didn't see it."The operations manager of the building where the debate was held, interviewed three years after the event by the Baltimore Sun, disputed Steele's claim and said Some eyewitnesses including AP reporter Tom Stuckey who was at the event have said cookies were handed out.[Other eyewitnesses could not corroborate Steele and Schurick's claim.