State and local development dir. Shannon Reeves and Director of Political Strategies for New Media George Alafoginis, 2 RNC officials, are in Guam this week as part of Steele’s commitment to provide more party resources to U.S. territories, they told the Pacific Daily News. It is Reeves’ second trip, after visiting last year. The 2 top staffers will also attend the party’s Lincoln Day Dinner at a local resort.
“The visit is a part of party building activities the committee undertakes everyday to ensure the Republican Party is competitive in every state and territory, which is an important priority for Chairman Steele. To do otherwise — and not make critical investments in our state and local parties — would be political malpractice,” said RNC communications director Doug Heye.
It is the RNC’s second foray into Pacific Rim politics. Earlier this year, Hotline OnCall reported Steele had directed $20K to the Northern Mariana Islands for a GOV race, which the GOP lost.
On Guam, an island nation of 178K people, Gov. Felix Camacho (R) is term-limited, and LG Michael Cruz (R) and Sen. Eddie Calvo (R) are seeking the GOP nomination to replace him. Ex-Gov. Carl Gutierrez (D) is the likely Dem nominee.
Steele won the RNC chairmanship in Jan. ’09 in large part because of a bloc of voters representing the island territories. Because of RNC rules, Guam and the NMI have as many votes on the RNC as, say, TX and CA — 3 each. Steele critics accused his campaign of cutting a deal with island delegates, a charge Steele’s camp has denied.
Steele ultimately won by a 91-77 margin, meaning the 12 island votes — representing Guam, the NMI, American Samoa and the Virgin Islands — provided his margin of victory over ex-SC GOP chair Katon Dawson.
A week-long trip from DC to Guam could cost several thousand dollars, according to airline websites. And the 2 aides had to leave the country just to get to Guam, too: Every flight we found went through Tokyo’s Narita Airport, an uncomfortable 14-hour flight from DC’s Dulles Airport.