Steele opponents now confident they can keep him from second term

But the two Washington figures who would be most quickly targeted by Steele as the Machiavellian types working for his defeat – Karl Rove and Ed Gillespie – have been careful not to be too forceful in their involvement, sources said.

“It can’t be seen primarily as their candidate. If they’re part of a broader group that’s pushing another candidate, that’s fine,” the Republican source said. “But if it were seen as primarily their candidate, I think that would be a negative.”

Most RNC members are not elected officials and do not like the idea of outsiders meddling in their affairs. Thus, Rove and Gillespie, former top advisers in the Bush White House, have been involved in trying to find the best option to defeat Steele, but are not trying to impose their will.

The list of potential candidates to run against Steele is still rather lengthy. Besides Anuzis, other potentials include Wisconsin GOP Chairman Reince Priebus, former RNC Chair Mike Duncan, Pennsylvania GOP Chairman Rob Gleason, RNC Co-Chairwoman Jan Larimer, Connecticut GOP Chairman Chris Healy, former North Dakota GOP Chairman Gary Emineth, California GOP Chairman Ron Nehring, and former RNC Deputy Chairwoman Maria Cino.

A run by Priebus would be remarkable, given that he is the RNC’s general counsel and has been considered to be an ally of Steele. Priebus told The Weekly Standard on Friday that he has “been getting a lot of phone calls” encouraging him to run.

The effort to find a viable alternative to Steele in recent weeks has led to some farfetched speculation, causing some to float Palin’s name as a potential challenger to Steele. Another high profile name mentioned more than once has been that of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, younger brother to former President George W. Bush.

Jeb Bush told TheDC that he is in no way contemplating a run for the position.

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