The Washington Times - November 19, 2008, 03:17PM

Minnesota Republican Sen. Norm Coleman is locked in a recount battle with comedian Al Franken to retain his seat.

But a Republican colleague of Mr. Coleman’s on Wednesday floated his name as a potential chairman of the Republican National Committee.

“Somebody like Norm Coleman would be great,” said the senator, speaking to a small group of reporters at a Capitol Hill steakhouse on the condition of anonymity.

The senator quickly clarified the statement by expressing hope and confidence that Mr. Coleman would emerge from the recount victorious over Mr. Franken, a Democrat who was on Capitol Hill Wednesday meeting with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat.

But the senator said that whoever the RNC chooses as its chairman, it should be someone with a national profile, preferably with experience as a governor, senator or congressman.

“A lot of party insiders, [current RNC chairman] Mike Duncan types, think it’s their turn, and I think that would be bad for the party.”

“The chairman is going to be a key voice,” the lawmaker said.

The senator did not mention Michael Steele, the former lieutenant governor of Maryland who told the Washington Times on Tuesday that he would transform the party into a technologically savvy group with appeal to younger voters and minorities. 

The nameless Republican did say that Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin does not speak for the party writ large, but only for “a segment of the party.”

The senator said that Mrs. Palin could not become a GOP standard-bearer based on “the power of her ideas,” and will be challenged to maintain a national profile from Alaska.

“She didn’t come out of the deal looking like the next president.”