January 30th, 2009
12:12 PM ET
7 months ago

RNC Race: Steele finishes strong in first-round balloting

WASHINGTON (CNN) – Voting to elect to the new chairman of the Republican National Committee is now underway at the party’s annual Winter Meeting, but none of the five candidates received the 85-vote majority needed to win after the first round of balloting Friday.

As expected, incumbent chairman Mike Duncan emerged as the leader after the first round with 52 votes, but that tally is lower than many committee members expected and it may be difficult for Duncan to maintain committee support after his showing.

Michael Steele, the former Maryland Lt. Gov., beat expectations by earning 46 votes, a total that puts him in a strong position as the balloting moves to a second round. There were suprised cheers in the meeting room as Steele’s total was announced.

South Carolina GOP chairman Katon Dawson finished third with 28 votes, followed by Michigan GOP chairman Saul Anuzis, with 22.

Former Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell finished the round with 20 votes, a better than expected showing. Blackwell supporters are clearly aware of their candidate’s underdog position. Before the vote, they distributed a flier noting that it took former RNC chairman Jim Nicholson six ballots to win the chairmanship in 1997.

Voting began shortly after 11:30 a.m., as the 168 committee members shuffled to the front of their meeting hall in single file order to drop their orange secret ballots into a box, a process they will likely repeat several times throughout the day as the field is narrowed.

Results:

Mike Duncan: 52

Michael Steele: 46

Katon Dawson: 28

Saul Anuzis: 22

Ken Blackwell: 20

(Updated 12:20 with additional information)


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soundoff (33 Responses)
  1. bill

    what an important job-what we need is to get the names of all companies used in ads for russ limpbaugh/hannity/dobber's down. that would make cents.

    January 30, 2009 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  2. Chris

    Oh this is too funny. The RNC is trying to put on the ole we are inclusive to other culture hat!!! LOL

    January 30, 2009 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  3. brenda

    All you naysayers obviously no nothing about the history of the republican party. If you were smart and wanted to be fair in your criticisms you would research, and find, that it is tyhe democrat party that is, and was, the party of slavery, that dems did not want civil rights or equality for blacks, that blacks were owned by more dem presidents than republican presidents, that lincoln was a republican and so was martin luther king. we are very much aware of the fact that blacks discriminate "among their own" according to how light or dark the black man is and i cant help but feel very sorry for those of you that continue to believe that republicans are the party of slavery when, in fact, they have done more for the black mans plight than any dem has. do your research and you will find that, as usual, you are wrong.

    January 30, 2009 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  4. Vincent Petrosino

    When will the GOP get it? Do they think having any African-American represent them will fool the diverse population of this country into thinking they are not the party of cold-blooded conservatives ? Marylanders know who and what MIchael Steele is. Ask them. He is cut from the same cloth as Condoleeza Rice, Alan Keyes, Lynn Swann and other minorities who play the token game for gain. So the GOP can go ahead and nominate and appoint him head of their party. It fools no one.

    January 30, 2009 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  5. Tim

    Interesting how the Dems pull out the race card even when the Reps are deliberating on who the next RNC chair will be. Inclusive change - what a joke! Business as usual in Washington.

    January 30, 2009 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  6. Once you vote Black

    If Imus said what Rush did he would be off the air. This goes to show the backing he has. Even the rep from GA was on his knees to Rush asking for forgiveness. I am sure the Reps breath now smells like a cigar after kissing up to Rush. Did Rush say he was holding on to his ankles? And the GOP is now saying they see eye to eye with him? Does that mean the GOP is holding its ankles also?

    January 30, 2009 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  7. Tim

    Like that's gonna happen!!! If Limbaugh and Hannity haven't given their approval, ain't gonna happen. They are the new voice of the Republican party, right?

    January 30, 2009 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  8. Drew in ATL

    Duncan, the guy that penned "Barack the majic negro" in the lead? He shouldn't even be on the ballot! Republican mentality = 20 years behind the rest of the country. Wow... it's almost comical how this party keeps committing political suicide. Next we'll here the "Palin for 2012" rebel yell again.

    January 30, 2009 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
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