Although local Michael Steele was ousted as Republican National Committee chairman in favor of Wisconsin’s Reince Priebus, the area gained in prominence as District resident and Republican National Committeeman Tony Parker was elected as treasurer. The election marks another gain for the Republican party in the nation’s capital.
Three candidates were running for the office: Incumbent Randy Pullen, California Republican Party Chairman Ron Nehring, and Mr. Parker. After no clear majority emerged in the first round a recess was declared for each candidate to review their whip counts and try to gain more votes. Late in the recess Mr. Pullen announced that he was withdrawing from the race and endorsed Parker. This proved decisive when a second ballot gave the win to Parker, who won with a commanding 112 votes to 52 for Nehring.
The election also gave many aspiring politicos a chance to view party politics up close. Representatives from the D.C. Young Republicans and local College Republicans were present to support their favored candidates, a good sign for the party as there was much talk among candidates and committee members of the importance of fundraising and mobilizing volunteers in the next election. The RNC has faced challenges with raising money and this past congressional election saw the rise of several outside groups financially supporting conservative candidates.
The DC GOP has seen gains this past year, including endorsements for their candidates in several seats for the DC Council. The next test will be in April’s special election to permanently fill the At-Large seat vacated by Kwame Brown when he was sworn in as chairman.
Mr. Parker, a longtime resident of D.C. runs a government contracting company which he founded. He is a Naval veteran and holds degrees from Harvard University and Georgetown Law.