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Former ND GOP chairman considering running against Michael Steele

BISMARCK, N.D. -- Former North Dakota Republican Party Chairman Gary Emineth told Forum Communications Co. this morning that he is considering challenging Michael Steele for the national chairman post.

However, Emineth said he did not step down as state chairman last week "to take on Chairman Steele," as national media reported.

Emineth said he resigned from the state party to focus on his business interests. Emineth and a group of investors recently bought a New Mexico burrito company, and Emineth is trying to set up a manufacturing facility in North Dakota.

When asked by Washington media what he political future was, Emineth said he told them he's frustrated with what's going on in Washington and considered at some point running for national chairman.

"The issue boils down to someone needed to speak up on Chairman Steele's chairmanship and what's happening nationally in the Republican Party," Emineth said. "If it turns up I end up being a candidate for national chairman, so be it. Right now, I'm not ruling out the possibility."

Emineth said he may get more serious about it as time goes on. However, he does not have a timeframe for making that decision.

"I really am not going to do anything until after the midterm elections," he said. "I don't want to distract from this important November election. But I have great concerns of Chairman Steele serving another term as chairman of the Republican National Committee."

Emineth, 51, served as the state Republican chairman for three years. He was in the middle of his second two-year term when he announced his resignation last week.

Emineth isn't the only Republican voicing concerns about Steele's leadership. The most recent controversy involves remarks Steele made about Afghanistan being a "war of Obama's choosing."

On Sunday, Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham condemned Steele's comment. Neither GOP lawmaker, however, was outraged enough to demand Steele's resignation, as some other Republican have done. Both said from Kabul it was up to Steele to decide whether he could continue to lead the party.

Steele's remarks were captured Thursday on camera during a Connecticut fundraiser that was closed to the news media and posted online.

Graham, R-S.C., described himself as "dismayed, angry and upset. It was an uninformed, unnecessary, unwise, untimely comment."

He told CBS' "Face the Nation" that "this is not President Obama's war. This is America's war. We need to stand behind the president."

Asked whether Steele should quit, Graham said, "It's up to him to see if he can lead the Republican Party. It couldn't have come at a worst time."