Manning: Committeeman race unrelated to 2010

Robert Manning, RI's GOP National Committeeman, says the varying alliances of himself (with Steve Laffey) and Scott Avedisian (with Linc Chafee) are unrelated to Avedisian's challenge to his position.

Last week, N4N reported that Avedisian and Joe Trillo are challenging Manning for the National Committeman post. The election for the position will be held in June.

Asked what this about, Manning told me a short time ago, "They're interested in extending their service to the party." Asked if it has any relation to maneuvering for the 2010 gubernatorial race, he said, "No."

Manning defeated former LG Bernie Jackvony for the Committeeman slot four years ago, after it was discovered by Laffey allies that the previous holder of the post, Mike Traficante, had disaffiliated in Cranston and was therefore ineligible.

Manning confirmed that he intends to fight for the National Committeeman post. He claims credit for helping to put Rhode Island on the path to be included in Super Tuesday voting in the next presidential election cycle -- a move that would have to be approved at the Republican National Convention. Manning says he has also worked to get funding from the Republican National Committee for the state party, in part through a coalition of smaller states.

Calling the RNC "basically a seniority-based organization," Manning says that if someone were to replace him, "we're going to [have to] start all over again."

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