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Posted at 3:45 PM ET, 01/11/2011

The RNC chairman's race goes down to the wire

By Jennifer Rubin

The RNC will cast votes this week for its chairman. Long-time Republican strategist Mike Murphy thinks there is "about a 60% chance that [Reince] Priebus will take it, followed by a 35% chance for [Saul] Anuzis and a 10% chance for a [Maria] Cino upset." He thinks there is no chance Michael Steele will prevail, and the good news, Murphy says, is that "Priebus, Anuzis and Cino would each make an excellent chair; we'll find out next week which of them has best mastered the art of inside wheeling and dealing in a tricky multiple ballot election."

My own take is that Annuzis actually has the inside track. Steele can't win. Priebus hasn't built up enough momentum.

Priebus, Steele's former general counsel, is unlikely to prevail on the first ballot since he currently is far short of a majority. Following the debate, there was widespread agreement among insiders that Priebus hadn't put the race away. If anything, all the Steele opponents came across as fully capable of handling the job. There has been some momentum for Priebus since that debate, but he only has 38 committed votes. That's not all that good for the prohibitive frontrunner.

In the second round, the Steele supporters who are out for vengence against Priebus (who they see as a traitor and betrayer of Steele), could tip the race to the strongest Priebus opponent. My bet is on the committee shifting to Annuzis in the second or third round, giving the party a new, noncontroversial and competent chairmen.

But I heartily second Murphy's take -- the only disastrous choice here is Steele.

By Jennifer Rubin  | January 11, 2011; 3:45 PM ET
Categories:  RNC  
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Don't know who made @, but there's a very motivated anti-Saul coalition out there among members.

Posted by: Howard17 | January 11, 2011 4:45 PM | Report abuse

Obama is the worst affirmative action hire of all time, but Steele has to be in the top ten.

Posted by: eoniii | January 11, 2011 5:50 PM | Report abuse

No racism here, no sir!

Posted by: j3hess | January 11, 2011 7:00 PM | Report abuse

j3hess, I'm certainly not a racist. I detest racism.

Both men are affirmative action hires. Neither would have been considered for his current position if not for his race. How many first-term senators of no accomplishment are taken seriously as presidential candidates? Obama's mixed race heritage made him the cool candidate and gave him an unearned moral stature. I didn't vote for him, but I'm still thrilled that the color barrier for president has been eliminated. I just wish it had been by someone more like Reagan and less like Bill Ayers.

How many defeated pols with no demonstrated management skills are made chairman of the Republican party? OK, there have probably been a few, but Steele was picked strictly as an outreach to black voters. Nothing wrong with that, but he's been a disaster at raising money and leading a GOTV effort. Time to go.

Obama, in a much bigger job obviously, has also proven a disaster. The last election was a clear verdict from the voters on his radical agenda and inept leadership. Instead of promoting economic growth and recovery, he grew the federal government and terrified the private sector. Consequently, we've had the most anemic economic recovery in seventy years.

Posted by: eoniii | January 11, 2011 7:22 PM | Report abuse

Actually Reince would be a horrible choice. You said it, he was General Counsel that means he was there for signatures on the lease of that property in Florida for a two year rent free vacation for Steele's friends and their friend and relatives. Reince was there for the millions in loans that Steele took out. He is as responsible if not more as the General Counsel as Michael Steele!

Posted by: Jaded2 | January 11, 2011 8:18 PM | Report abuse

I've in Maryland and knew Steel was a bust from the beginning!

Posted by: noneckmd | January 12, 2011 2:57 PM | Report abuse

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