RNC Candidate Gentry Collins Drops Bid to Replace Michael Steele

And then there were Five…
Former political director of the Republican National Committee Gentry Collins dropped his bid to replace Michael Steele as chair of the RNC tonight. He did not endorse any candidate.
The New York Times reported:

Gentry Collins, a former political director of the Republican National Committee who resigned in November after delivering a scathing condemnation of the party’s fund-raising practices, said Sunday that he was withdrawing his candidacy to succeed Michael Steele as chairman of the Republican Party.

Mr. Collins announced his decision on Sunday evening in an e-mail to members of the Republican National Committee. He did not offer an endorsement of any of the five remaining candidates, who are scheduled to appear at a debate on Monday afternoon in Washington.

“It is after much consideration and thought that I announce my withdrawal from the race for chairman of the R.N.C.,” Mr. Collins said 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.”

Mr. Collins, a respected Republican strategist who had worked alongside Mr. Steele for two years and often defended his stewardship of the committee, decided to run for the top Republican post himself after abruptly resigning in November.

Candidate Ann Wagner released the following statement moments ago.

St. Louis – Ann Wagner tonight issued the following statement:

“Gentry Collins has a great future ahead of him in the Republican Party. He made real and thoughtful contributions to the RNC Chair race. Gentry was one of the first to sound the alarm about the current leadership team at the RNC. For that he should be commended.”

The remaining candidates include Michael Steele, former Michigan Republican Party Chairman Saul Anuzis, former Bush administration official Maria Cino, Wisconsin Republican Party Chairman Reince Priebus, and former Missouri committeewoman Ann Wagner. They will debate tomorrow in Washington.
I plan on attending the event.

UPDATE: Like I mentioned above. I will be traveling to DC this morning. I will post when I can. The debate later today will be broadcast on CSPAN.

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