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Robert M. Duncan

In office
January 2007 – January 30, 2009
Preceded by Ken Mehlman
Succeeded by Michael S. Steele

Born 1951
Oneida, Tennessee
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Joanne Duncan
Profession Banker, attorney, politician
Religion Christian

Robert M. ("Mike") Duncan (born 1951 in Oneida, Tennessee) was the 62nd Chairman of the Republican National Committee. He was elected in January 2007, replacing Ken Mehlman, and served until January 30, 2009, when he withdrew from renomination to the chairmanship.[1] He will become the chairman of the board of directors of the Tennessee Valley Authority[2] effective May 18.[3]


Duncan is active in numerous professional and nonprofit organizations. He served as chairman of a state university[4] and currently serves as chairman of the Board of Trustees at Alice Lloyd College, a private four-year liberal arts college in Pippa Passes, Kentucky.[5] He has served as Chairman for the Center for Rural Development in Somerset, Kentucky, a $30 million state-of-the-art regional center emphasizing telecommunications, training, and development. President George W. Bush appointed him to the President’s Commission on White House Fellows in 2001. Duncan is a trustee of the Christian Appalachian Project, the fifteenth largest private social services agency in America. Duncan is a former chairman and current director of the Kentucky Governor’s Scholars Program. His student-mentoring program, in its 26th year, was featured on CBS News Sunday Morning and in the Los Angeles Times.

Professionally, Duncan was President of the Kentucky Bankers Association and a Director of the Cleveland Federal Reserve Bank Cincinnati Branch. In 1989-91, during a sabbatical, he worked in the Bush White House as Assistant Director of Public Liaison. President George W. Bush appointed him to the President’s Commission on White House Fellows in 2001 and nominated him to the Tennessee Valley Authority Board, a position to which he was unanimously confirmed by the United States Senate in March 2006. His public service has been recognized with several distinctions including honorary degrees from Cumberland College and the College of the Ozarks.

Duncan has been equally active in his home state of Kentucky, where he helped in the successful campaign to win back Kentucky’s statehouse for the first time in 36 years. In 1998 he took a leave of absence from his business and chaired Jim Bunning’s successful U.S. Senate race. In addition Duncan is a long-time supporter and fundraiser for Senator Mitch McConnell.

He served as General Counsel of the Republican National Committee (RNC) from July 10, 2002 until his election as Chairman. He previously was elected Treasurer of the RNC in January 2001. Duncan, in his third term as National Committeeman from Kentucky, has served the party at every level from precinct captain, county chairman, state chairman, and national officer. He has been a delegate to the 1972, 1976, 1992, 1996, and 2000 Republican National Conventions and is one of the few persons ever to serve on the four standing convention committees. Mike Duncan and his wife Joanne are 1974 graduates of the University of Kentucky College of Law. Duncan received his undergraduate degree from Cumberland College. They live in Inez, Kentucky, and have one child, Rob, an Assistant United States Attorney in Lexington, Kentucky, who is married to Valerie Ridder of Springfield, Missouri. The Duncans are the principal owners of two community banks with five offices in eastern Kentucky.[6][7]

Duncan ran for reelection to serve as the Chairman of the RNC, but dropped out after the third round of balloting when elections were held on January 30, 2009 in Washington, D.C. Michael S. Steele was later that day elected Chairman of the Republican National Committee.


RNC Re-election bid

RNC Chairman Vote

Source: CQPolitics [8], and Poll Pundit [9]

Candidate Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Round 4 Round 5 Round 6
Michael Steele 46 48 51 60 79 91
Katon Dawson 28 29 34 62 69 77
Saul Anuzis 22 24 24 31 20 Withdrew
Ken Blackwell 20 19 15 15 Withdrew
Mike Duncan 52 48 44 Withdrew
     Candidate won that Round of voting
     Candidate withdrew
     Candidate won RNC Chairmanship


Party political offices
Preceded by
Ken Mehlman
Chairman of the Republican National Committee
Succeeded by
Michael S. Steele


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