Michael Steele, the brash new national Republican Party chairman, has his work cut out for him. He must restore his party to prominence after it was decimated in the 2008 elections by President Barack Obama and the Democrats.

Yet just six weeks after his election, Steele, the GOP’s first black leader, has become a “lightning rod for critics and comedians,” writes The Associated Press, noting, however, that he’s also got plenty of friends outside the D.C. beltway, where folks like Dick Wadhams see promise. “His election has been overwhelmingly received by the rank-and-file Republicans,” says Wadhams, Colorado’s GOP chief.

Steele recently called out Rush Limbaugh on CNN (via YouTube), saying Limbaugh is an “entertainer” whose show can be “incendiary”–and then apologizing (via Politico). 

Vanity Fair recently published Steele’s to-do list for reinventing the GOP. As for Wadhams, later this month he’ll be facing a challenge of his own. Former Eagle County Commissioner Tom Stone wants Wadhams’ job as chairman of the state party, writes Face the State.