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RNC Chair Update

By Greg Bobrinskoy

With the vote for RNC chair set for January 31, the six candidates in the race are working overtime to win votes from the 168 committee members. For background on the race, read here.

CNN reported this morning that Michael Steele will release a memo today announcing the names of a dozen RNC members who have pledged to vote for him. Yesterday National Committeeman Ron Kaufman, who has pledged to vote for incumbent Mike Duncan, spoke with RCP about the state of the race, saying it now stands as a four way tie between Duncan, Steele, Katon Dawson, and Saul Anuzis.

The 3 committee chairmen running (Duncan, Dawson, and Anuzis) carry a notable advantage, he said, due to Committee members wanting to pick one of their own rather than an outsider. Kaufman compared the scenario to the House of Representatives picking a non-Congressman as Speaker of the House. While most were originally looking for change in the new RNC Chair, Kaufman said competence is the quality voters are now looking for.

Katon Dawson spoke to RCP earlier today, saying his status as the fourth longest serving state chairman is a crucial factor in the race, as is his record of turning around the South Carolina state party. Dawson stressed the importance of "having a unique understanding of the job, as everything you do besides being spokesman of the party is the tactical part of running an organization."

As our previous update detailed, Michael Steele had an impressive debate performance last week demonstrating his strong communication skills. Mike Duncan seems to have the greatest advantage in networking within the committee. Anuzis has been running the most hard working, tech savvy campaign. And Katon Dawson has impressed many as a likeable and competent manager. The bottom line: this race remains wide open.