Steele pulls ahead in RNC race

Michael Steele, the former lieutenant governor of Maryland, has taken the lead over current RNC Chair Mike Duncan, but the race isn't over yet.

By Alex Koppelman

Published January 30, 2009 6:50PM (EST)

Michael Steele, the former lieutenant governor of Maryland, has pulled ahead and after the third round of voting in the race to head the Republican National Committee, he's now in the lead, over incumbent Chair Mike Duncan.

Steele, one of the race's moderates, garnered 51 votes in this latest round, compared to Duncan's 44. South Carolina GOP Chair Katon Dawson is in third place with 34 votes, while Saul Anuzis and Ken Blackwell have 24 and 15 votes, respectively. 85 votes are necessary for victory.

The question now is what kind of alliances might be formed as the various factions wheel and deal in search of a win. Steele's comparatively centrist attitude is not beloved in the party's conservative wing, so there is the possibility that Duncan and Dawson, for instance, might strike some sort of deal. Blackwell is the favorite of the social conservatives, so it'll be interesting to see if anyone can pick off some of his voters.

Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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