ICYMI — New reporting by Politico’s Ally Mutnick exposes the deep divisions and utter chaos plaguing the Republican State Leadership Committee under their inexperienced 24-year-old president, Austin Chambers, and inept chairman, Bill McCollum.
The Republican State Leadership Committee has seen an exodus of top staff in recent months, has lagged behind its Democratic counterpart in fundraising and is struggling to explain why its new president, Austin Chambers, was also moonlighting as a general consultant for Louisiana businessman Eddie Rispone’s failed bid for governor.
Chambers, who was hired in April after being mired in scandal, has been slammed by fellow Republicans for being distracted with earning a personal paycheck on Louisiana’s governor’s race, while simultaneously losing the Virginia General Assembly.
“Viewed in the most favorable light, these actions create terrible optics at a crucial point in the redistricting cycle,” said a Republican operative close to the committee. “Not only do RSLC employees not have time for moonlighting — moonlighting undermines the confidence of the legislators involved in the organization and potentially some of its donors, too.”
Facing Democratic challenges to more than a dozen chambers in 2020, the RSLC’s chairman, former Florida congressman and Attorney General Bill McCollum, is waffling on whether to keep Chambers on as president.
In an interview, McCollum declined to elaborate on the full scope of the review. He offered Chambers a vote of confidence but — when asked directly — refused to rule out the possibility that the review could result in a change in RSLC leadership.
The Republican discord comes as Democratic organizations are working together at an unprecedented level to win state legislatures. Since Trump’s election, the DLCC has flipped 10 chambers from red to blue, and the organization outraised the RSLC for the first time this year.
“While Republicans were losing both chambers of the Virginia General Assembly, the RSLC’s president was hard at work — personally profiting in Louisiana,” said DLCC press secretary Matt Harringer. “We encourage the RSLC to keep Austin Chambers on as president and look forward to him perhaps making more money off Donald Trump’s campaign and maybe a governor’s race or two, while the DLCC and our staff remain focused on our only mission: flipping state legislatures.”