Yesterday, I spoke with Iowa RNC Committeewoman Kim Lehman. She criticized Republican Governors Association Chairman and Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour for expending so much time and effort on the Massachusetts governors’ race on behalf of a very liberal GOP candidate.
Yesterday, she and RNC members from six different states attached their names to a letter asking the RNC not to fund the race the way the RGA has.
Clearly, someone’s head exploded over this incident. Lehmann and Iowa Committeeman Steve Scheffler have just released a statement distancing themselves from this effort, in which just hours earlier, they were both heavily involved and outspoken. Scheffler had even threatened Barbour’s presidential aspirations, telling Hotline’s Reid Wilson, “He’s toast in Iowa, as far as I’m concerned.”
The retraction statement from an apparently chastened Lehmann (who did not immediately return my calls) and Scheffler reads, in part:
“We are strong conservatives and signed a letter we initially thought would send a message of support for conservative candidates in our party. Upon further reflection, we understand this letter could be interpreted as meddling in the affairs of an independent Republican organization and we wish in no way to harm the efforts of the Republican Governors Association in the pursuit of its work.
“As such, we have asked that our names be removed from that letter and that we all unite to support Republican candidates all across this country,” concluded Scheffler and Lehman.
Two other RNC delegates — from Louisiana and Virginia — have also removed their names from the letter.