We're hearing that Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael Steele -- and the presumptive Republican Senate candidate for the open U.S. Senate seat in the 2006 election cycle -- was a standout at a function this morning at the offices of the lobbying shop Preston Gates in DC.
Preston Gates is a decidedly un-Republican firm in town, and the fact that Steele would show up and wow them is impressive. "He was exceedingly engaging and straight with us about his challenges in Maryland," says an attendee. "Given his background and the work he has been doing in Maryland, he's going to have a slightly easier time getting Democrats and independents to look at him in the race. He's very impressive."
And the Democrats know it. In a year's time Howard Dean and Chuck Schumer (head of the Democrat Senatorial Campaign Committee) have allowed Steele's credit report to be stolen and used for opposition research, allowed racist bile to be used against Steele with no recriminations against Democrat operatives, and spent more than $1 million of party funds to do media and voter outreach against him.