National Harbor, MD - Here in the bowels of the behemoth Gaylord Convention National Resort and Convention Center, the Republican National Committee is meeting to election its chairman.
The first ballot is in and its all bottled up at the top and the bottom.
Slate’s ace boy reporter Dave Weigel frames the first ballot this way: “Priebus Wins Round One:”
Reince Priebus (WI) - 45
Michael Steele (MD) - 44
Maria Cino (NY?) - 32
Saul Anuzis (MI) - 24
Ann Wagner (MO) - 23
But casual observers reading the reams of press that’s said incumbent RNC Chair Michael Steele is a dead man walking might be surprised by his strong showing, coming in only a vote shy of first place. (Even a wired in guy like WaPo’s “The Fix” columnist Chris Cillizza fearlessly predicted “It's one and done for Steele.” Weigel, on the scent of actual RNC voting members says “the attaboy vote for Steele was what we expected.” Its been speculated that many of Steele’s votes are only committed for the first ballot out of personal loyalty, and may defect on subsequent ballots.
Weigel tempers his first place showing by deeming that “this is a weak showing for Priebus -- he came in with 43 public commitments.” Wisconsin state chair Rance Priebus had been hyped as a breath of fresh air, coming off a Republican rout in the purple Dairy State, a “can do” guy who can win were Republicans had been struggling.
Maria Cino, the national political operative candidate, and seemingly a comfortable second choice for some is well positioned to pick up from those that finished above or below.
Saul Anuzis managed to do that two years ago, with steady growth as balloting proceeded. Wagner’s supporters’ rhetoric seem to indicate that they are firmly behind her.
Voting is under way in the second ballot is coming in now.