As he contemplates running for a second term, Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele is on the verge of losing his coalition of supporters. Even some of those closest to the controversial chairman have begun urging him to step aside.
Strategists familiar with the RNC who both support and oppose Steele agree there are between 40 and 50 of the 168 voters who will back Steele for a second term. Another 40 to 50 members will definitely vote for someone else. The remaining members, numbering between 88 and 68, are undecided.
Meanwhile, a group of prominent Republicans led by Karl Rove and Ed Gillespie are searching for a consensus candidate capable of defeating Steele. Though they have not settled on a challenger, and in fact are unlikely to find a consensus choice, strategists who both support and oppose Steele say coalitions are forming now to deny Steele a second term.