The Republican National Committee's winter meeting has just announced the vote totals from the first round of balloting in the heated race for RNC chairman. No candidate has received the 85-vote majority needed to win just yet, but so far it's a tight race between incumbent chairman Mike Duncan and former Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael Steele:
â¢ Duncan 52
â¢ Steele 46
â¢ South Carolina GOP Chairman Katon Dawson 28
â¢ Michigan GOP Chairman Saul Anuzis 22
â¢ Former Ohio Sec. of State Ken Blackwell 20
Overall this is not a good result for Duncan -- he is an incumbent who only received 31% of the vote in the first round of voting, and a viable non-Duncan candidate is trailing just narrowly behind. This is also a bit of an embarrassment for right-wing bloggers and movement conservative activists, who had actively been supporting Blackwell.
The RNC has now gone out to lunch -- and presumably a lot of deal-making -- before we go into the second round later.