DNC, RNC leadership free-for-all marks post-election frenzy

Local politicos are whispering about whether Dick Wadhams will bring a bazooka to the expected knife fight he’ll have to retain leadership of the Colorado GOP after stunning losses Tuesday by presidential nominee John McCain, U.S. Senate candidate Bob Schaffer and incumbent U.S. Rep. Marilyn Musgrave.

In the meantime, another battle is taking place on the national stage to see who will arrive victorious from an expected battered and bloodied climb to the top spots at the Democratic and Republican national committees.

John Deeth at our sister site, The Iowa Independent, speculates that White House budget chief and former Iowa U.S. Rep. Jim Nussle may have an inside track to lead the Republican party. Nussle counts Rudy Giuliani as a key ally in his quest.

Ex-House Speaker and self-appointed political futurist Newt Gingrich‘s name has also been floated, especially as party tech nerds clamor to replicate the Dems’ stunning success at netroots organizing. Supporters of Sen. John Sununu, off a big loss in New Hampshire, have launched a draft committee to find noble work for the one-term senator and, of course, themselves.

Current RNC Chair Mike Duncan reportedly wants to hang on to his job, though that might be a bit tough considering the Election Day blowout suffered by his party. If unhappy folks are looking for scalps, his is likely at the top of the list.

Chris Cillizza at The Fix rounds out the GOP chair guessing game with: South Carolina GOP Chair Katon Dawson, Michigan GOP Chair Saul Anuzis and GOPAC chair/rainmaker Michael Steele.

On the Democrats’ side of the political universe, that preternaturally nice fella, President-elect Barack Obama, has swiftly cut his ties to ex-Vermont Gov. Howard Dean less than week since Election Day. Who says electoral miracles should reward the guy fighting the uphill battle lo these long and lonely three years?

Dean announced his intention today to step down as DNC chair after one term. Names being floated are term-limited governors Kathleen Siebelius of Kansas and eternal presidential cabinet short-lister Bill Richardson of New Mexico. Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri, a mainstay on the Obama presidential campaign circuit, is apparently also under consideration, though the political calculus of hanging on to that seat in a Republican stronghold could knock her out of serious contention.

Dean’s signature 50-state strategy to engage grass-roots building across the nation has long stuck in the craw of party establishment types like Rahm Emanuel, who was recently named Obama’s chief of staff.

Making it all the more curious after the Dems’ exceptional gains in both state and federal races, the only ones begging to replicate Dean’s handiwork are a coalition of Republican operatives Patrick Ruffini, Mindy Finn and others — including Colorado Senate candidate Katie Witt, who got spanked in her race against SD 17 incumbent Brandon Shaffer.

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