Michael Steele Appears Doomed In Race For RNC Chair

After a rocky tenure at the head of the Republican National Committee, Michael Steele appears to be on the way out:

Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele faces an all-but-impossible path to reelection this month, as a majority of the RNC’s 168 members indicate that they will not support the controversial chairman for another term.

A weeklong canvass of the party’s governing board by POLITICO revealed 88 members who have decided not to vote for Steele, either opting to support one of his opponents or simply ruling out Steele as a choice in the race.

Fifty-five members, some of whom have endorsed one of Steele’s challengers, have signaled that they will not support the chairman under any circumstances. An additional 33 pledged their support elsewhere.

Just as telling, not a single member of the committee said that Steele was their second choice in the race – a grave indicator in a contest likely to be decided in multiple ballots.

Further, whip counts kept by several of the chairman’s opponents suggest the Anybody-but-Steele bloc could be even larger, including as many as 90 to 100 members.

A winning candidate must gain the support of 85 members of the RNC.

In the end, I’m honestly not sure how important a story this really is. The primary job of the Party Chair is to raise money, mostly behind the scenes. They’ve never been seen as the chief spokesperson for the party and certainly don’t have much say over the ideological direction of the party. On the other hand, though, the Party Chairman is someone who should be seen only occasionally and heard from even less often. Steele is a guy who’s managed to get himself in the news more often than he probably ought to, usually because he’s saying something that causes problems for the party that later has to be retracted. While it would ordinarily be odd to ditch a Chairman who presided over an historic election victory, Steele has made himself more of a liability than an asset. Which is why he’s on the way out.

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Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. tom p says:

    snifff, sniff, sob… I’m gonna miss him SOOOOOOO much!

  2. michael reynolds says:

    I will miss him. And may I put in an early nomination for Christine O’Donnell to replace him?

  3. Aaron says:

    I don’t think the story has any merit. Steele could still win. The person currently in 2nd place cannot get a majority of the RNC – Priebus. He came across terrible in the debate.