To his supporters, he said, "I asked them to stand with me in supporting Maria Cino."
In the fourth ballot, Cino came in one point ahead of Steele with 29 votes, but significantly behind Priebus at 58. Priebus was once a close Steele ally. But that relationship frayed when Priebus entered the race for the chairmanship. Steele's move is designed to blunt Priebus' momentum.
To a standing ovation of RNC members, Steele mournfully told the crowd, "and now I exit stage right."
Watch the video below: