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RNC fundraising appeal accuses Democrats of theft in Senate races

  • Story Highlights
  • RNC chairman's letter cites concerns about Senate races in Minnesota, Georgia
  • Letter says Democrats "are trying to steal these election victories from Republicans"
  • Key Democrat says GOP wants "repeat of the 2000 recount in Florida"
  • Minnesota race headed toward recount; Georgia faces runoff for Senate seat
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From Paul Steinhauser
CNN Deputy Political Director
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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The man steering the Republican Party has said he's concerned that Democrats may try unfairly to influence Minnesota's Senate contest, which is headed toward a recount, and the Senate runoff battle in Georgia.

In a fundraising letter to supporters, Republican National Committee Chairman Mike Duncan said that "the Obama-Biden Democrats and their liberal special interest allies are trying to steal these election victories from Republicans."

"They are pouring all their available resources into these campaigns. The Obama campaign has tens of millions of dollars left over that they are sure to dump into the Democrat challengers' campaign coffers," he added.

Sen. Charles Schumer, D-New York and chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, dismissed such charges.

"The right-wing machine has worked itself into a lather in a clear attempt to intimidate election officials from doing their job," adding that "they clearly want a repeat of the 2000 recount in Florida, when Republicans flooded into the state from all over the country and used threats and intimidation to stop another recount they were afraid wouldn't go their way."

Duncan faced questions Friday on CNN's "American Morning" about his letter's allegations, especially in the Minnesota race, where Sen. Norm Coleman is 206 votes ahead of his Democratic challenger, Al Franken.

"We have got to make sure there's not a thumb on the scale," Duncan said. "We have to got to make sure that we have our people in the rooms making sure that it's a straight count. And that's what we're doing. We have deployed people up there [in Minnesota]. We need resources to be able to do that. That recount is very close." Video Watch more of Duncan's interview »

"I want to make sure that we're vigilant, and we do not allow anyone to irregularly influence the outcome of this election, and we have to have the resources to do that and we're asking people to help us do that."

In Georgia, Republican Sen. Saxby Chambliss faces Democrat Jim Martin in a December 2 runoff.

On another matter, Duncan was noncommittal about the possibility of a run for re-election as RNC chairman.

"I don't know. My job is to continue this election," he told CNN. "We have the runoff in Georgia, we have the recount going in Minnesota, we have two elections that haven't been held yet in Louisiana. My first responsibility is to do my day job. After that I will make a decision."

Asked about the criticism after the GOP's loss of the White House and seats in both chambers of Congress in last week's election, Duncan said, "The Republican Party has not lost its way," adding that "we have a deep bench in the Republican Party, and we have a lot of people who are interested in being RNC chairman."

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Former Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael Steele threw his hat into the ring for the job Thursday. He's the second person formally to become a candidate, joining Michigan Republican Party Chairman Saul Anuzis.

The national RNC is expected to hold its election for chairman in January.

All About Republican National CommitteeMichael S. Steele

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