After seven rounds of voting, Reince Priebus won the race to be the next chairman of the Republican National Committee, defeating Saul Anuzis and Maria Cino, who was endorsed by Speaker John Boehner:
Wisconsin Republican party chairman Reince Priebus won a protracted fight for the chairmanship of the Republican National Committee today, replacing his one-time ally Michael Steele at the helm of the committee.
Priebus led on every ballot but picked up momentum once Steele exited the contest after the fourth round of voting. (Steele endorsed former RNC official Maria Cino but it was Priebus who harvested most of the incumbent’s support.)
Priebus won the chairmanship — a simply majority of the 168 RNC committeemen and women — on the seventh ballot.
In addition to Steele and Cino, Priebus beat out former Michigan Republican party chairman Saul Anuzis and former ambassador Ann Wagner for the top job.
Throughout the race, Priebus was a reluctant warrior — waiting on the sidelines for weeks for Steele to step aside and, when that didn’t happen, saying little about his one-time ally during the final weeks of the process.
Everyone seems to be happy, Steele is gone. Based what I read about Priebus in the last couple of weeks, I’m not sure he’ll be much better, but Steele didn’t set the bar very high.
Below are the round by round results, courtsey of Politico.
- Priebus: 45
- Steele: 44
- Cino: 32
- Anuzis: 24
- Wagner: 23
- Priebus: 52
- Steele: 37
- Cino: 30
- Wagner: 27
- Anuzis: 22
Despite disapproval of his job performance and significant obstacles to winning another term, RNC Chairman Michael Steele is within striking distance of winning another term:
Wisconsin GOP Chairman Reince Priebus remains the front-runner for the Republican National Committee chairmanship, which some observers predicted could spell trouble for his bid.
Priebus leads the field with 36 RNC members publicly backing him, according to a count by National Review Online.
Current RNC Chairman Michael Steele is a close second with 27 members backing him.
Priebus’ front-runner status could prove a liability, according to Mike Duncan. The former RNC chairman, who was Steele’s predecessor serving from 2007-2009, recently said the leader typically “loses momentum after the first or second ballot.”
Meanwhile, former Missouri Republican Party Chairwoman Ann Wagner and Saul Anuzis, former chairman of the Michigan GOP, are tied for third with 14 votes each.
Maria Cino, a former Bush administration official, rounds out the field. Pennsylvania committeewoman Christine Toretti became the latest to back Cino, which brought her number of declared supporters to 12, according to a release and the NRO tally. She also has the support of House Speaker John Boehner, although he is unable to vote in the chairmanship race.
There are still 65 RNC members who haven’t announced their support. A candidate needs 85 votes to win. The chairmanship election is set for Jan. 14.
Michael Steel continues to make his case for re-election as chairman of the Republican National Committee, claiming that he revived the organization, despite a bleak outlook on his prospects:
Throughout the 2009-2010 cycle, the Republican National Committee has been singularly focused on winning. By every key measure—fundraising, turnout, and election results—our party was hugely successful. And we were successful because we listened to our grass roots, harnessed their energy and, most of all, affirmed their common-sense conservative ideals. We espoused governing principles that protect freedom and prosperity through free markets and limited government—the polar opposite of our Democrat opponents. In the process, we revived an RNC organization that had failed to compete effectively with the Democrats in 2006 and 2008. Falling back into that dispirited and ineffective state is not an option.
Inexplicably, over much of the last decade, our party simply gave up competing for votes in vast regions of the country, and among huge blocks of voters. That failed strategy was worse than an insult to those disenfranchised voters—it was a blunder. The predictable result was political disaster. Even worse, the Republican Party’s political malpractice afflicted the American people with Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi, and Harry Reid, and their job-killing agenda and crippling debt.
With his term as chairman of the Republican National Committee soon coming to an end, Michael Steele is faced with a decision on whether or not to run again. But it he does, he’ll have competition:
Former Michigan Republican Party Chairman Saul Anuzis announced this morning that he will run to be chairman of the Republican National Committee, becoming the first — though almost certainly not the last — candidate in the race against Michael Steele.
“We cannot be misled by our victories this year,” Anuzis wrote in an announcement posted on his blog. “Chairman Steele’s record speaks for itself. He has his way of doing things. I have mine.”
Anuzis, clearly hoping to emerge as the choice of the anti-Steele forces within the 168 member Republican National Committee added that “I will NOT strive to be the voice or the face of our party” — seeking to draw a direct contrast with high profile (and gaffe prone) current chairman.
This is the second time Anuzis is making a bid to lead his party. He ran and lost in 2009, dropping out after the fifth ballot.
In addition to Anuzis, there are at least four other people making calls to RNC members to test the waters for a bid, according to an informed source on the committee. That quartet includes: Wisconsin Republican party chairman Reince Priebus, who managed Steele’s 2009 RNC campaign, veteran GOP strategist Maria Cino, Connecticut Republican party chairman Chris Healy and former Ambassador Ann Wagner.
You can view a list of other potential candidates here.