Chip Saltsman, the former Tennessee GOP chairman and ex-campaign manager for Mike Huckabee, has just announced that he is withdrawing from the race to be the next RNC chairman.
Saltsman’s campaign was upended when he sent a gift CD to committee members by Paul Shanklin, a right-wing comedian who plays parody songs on the Rush Limbaugh show. This CD contained a track called “Barack The Magic Negro,” in which Shanklin did an Amos & Andy-style impersonation of Al Sharpton ridiculing white liberals who support Barack Obama. Saltsman blamed the flap on the media.
A survey of committee members by NBC News, published yesterday morning, showed Saltsman with the declared support of only one out of the 168 members.
The full withdrawal statement that Saltsman sent to the membership is available after the jump.
Since November’s election, I’ve had the remarkable opportunity to travel throughout thirty two states, share my vision for the future of our party, and listen to the advice of the nearly one hundred members who took the time to visit with me in their homes, their offices, their airports, and their coffee shops.
I’ve seen how the Clark County Republicans of Nevada are organizing online to defeat Harry Reid in 2010, as we defeated Tom Daschle in 2002.
I’ve heard how Republicans in the District of Columbia have expanded their membership simply by holding their meetings and spreading their message in communities that have long shared our values, but which have never felt welcome within our ranks.
I’ve witnessed how the hard work of Republican leadership in my home of Tennessee has given our state its first Republican General Assembly since 1869.
And I’ve met with Republicans in New England’s blue states who are ready to plant our party’s flag and prove that our coalition is broad enough, strong enough to compete everywhere and win anywhere.
But, while my travels make me confident in our party’s future, I wanted you to be first to know that I have decided to withdraw my candidacy to become your next chairman.
Thank you for your passion for our party and for the principles that make it great. I hope that you won’t hesitate to call on me as we rebuild our majority.