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Hawaii's top Republican backs national leadership


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POSTED: Monday, January 26, 2009

The head of the Hawaii Republican Party will support the current national GOP chairman in a six-candidate contest to determine who will be highest-ranking Republican in the country.

Willes Lee, Hawaii GOP chairman, says he wants current Republican National Committee Chairman Robert M. “;Mike”; Duncan to retain his post. Republicans are meeting Friday to vote.

Lee says Duncan has a wealth of experience as RNC chairman since January 2007 and as general counsel and treasurer before that.

The other candidates are South Carolina GOP Chairman Katon Dawson, Michigan GOP Chairman Saul Anuzis, former Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell, former Tennessee GOP Chairman Chip Saltsman and former Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael Steele.

Duncan, long a force in Kentucky politics, leads his rivals with 25 endorsements, followed by Dawson (16), Anuzis (15) and Steele (15), according to the Web site YourRNC.com.

Lee is one of three Hawaii members on the Republican National Committee. The others are Miriam Hellreich, finance director for Lt. Gov. James “;Duke”; Aiona's campaign committee, and state Transportation Department Director Brennon Morioka.