Duncan looking forward to chance to lead national GP
by ALEX SMITH
INEZ — Many politicians get their start in politics at an early age, but for Inez native and current general counsel of the Republican National Committee Robert Mike Duncan, his inception came especially early at the age of 9.
An uncle was running for a spot as a school superintendent in Tennessee at the time when a young Duncan began spending his weekends on the campaign trail with him, going door to door, talking to people and handing out flyers. He fell in love with it and has been involved ever since.
The RNC will vote in January to decide whether to accept President Bush's selections to head the committee, which he has picked Duncan for the chairman position and Sen. Mel Martinez of Florida as the general chairman. Both will work together to raise money for Republican candidates, with Martinez being the public face for the group while Duncan would run the daily operations in Washington.
"Obviously, I was honored and humbled that the president would select me," Duncan said. "I worked with his father for a long time and to be able to work with him as well is an honor."
Duncan has been a member of the RNC for the past 14 years, working his way up from county chairman to state chairman and now potentially as the national chairman. He said there is a solid foundation in place at the committee and he plans to continue the grassroots efforts of previous leaders.
"We've done a great job with voter registration and turnout and I just hope to bring more people into the party."
Duncan was quick to point out that he has not secured the post just yet, but a presidential nomination should help. He is currently reaching out to the 168 members who will be voting on his confirmation and speaking to them about why he is the right man for the job.
Duncan believes his previous experience campaigning for Republican candidates for the past 30 years and his work in the first Bush White House as assistant director of public liaison factored into Bush's decision. He has worked campaigns for Presidents Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan and both Bush presidents before working as chairman for the 2000 Bush-Cheney campaign in Kentucky, West Virginia, Indiana, Ohio and Michigan.
Duncan described his potential job as a business enterprise, with hundreds of millions of dollars being raised and a staff of more than 100 people, which will balloon to over 400 closer to elections. He said there will be a lot of work to do right away, with gubernatorial elections next year in Mississippi, Louisiana and Kentucky.
Duncan said he hopes to do a good job not just for Kentuckians, but the nation as a whole, and to end Democratic leadership in the House and Senate as soon as possible.
"I'm interested in preserving the president's legacy and working to gain seats and regain control of Congress," Duncan said.
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