Priebus wins RNC chairmanship

Alexis Levinson Political Reporter
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7:30 pm – Washington D.C. Committeeman Tony Parker won the election for Treasurer.

6:15 pm – Florida National Committeewoman Sharon Day wins the election for co-chair of the RNC. She defeated the incumbent, Jan Larimer, who is the National Committeewoman from Wyoming.

5:20 pm – In a somewhat anticlimactic result, Reince Priebus is the new RNC chairman. He won in the seventh round with 97 votes. The record will show that he was elected unanimously, following a motion made by Kevin DeWine, Chairman of the Ohio GOP, to that effect.

5:00 pm – Ann Wagner has dropped out of the race. Depending on where her supporters go, this next ballot could end it.

Wagner thanked her supporters, and thanked committee members for taking her “stalker phone calls.” She declined to endorse another candidate, concluding merely: “I release my supporters because I respect this process, to do what they feel they should do in their hearts.”

4:48 pm – We may be out of here earlier than anyone expected. Reince Priebus has 80 votes after the sixth round, putting him in spitting distance to the 85 needed for a majority. Anuzis is in second place with 37 votes, Cino has dropped to 34, and Wagner’s total has dwindled to 17.

4:20 pm – The field is down to four candidates, and in the fifth round of balloting Priebus has leapt ahead to 67 votes, coming closer to the 85 votes needed to win a majority. Cino saw a huge boost in supporters following Steele’s endorsement, giving her 40 votes. Anuzis picked some Steele supporters, putting him in third place with 32 votes. Wagner’s vote total remained the same, at 28 votes.

Yet again, there was a write-in vote for a candidate who had not been nominated.

All the movement, at least by the numbers, seems to have come from Steele’s supporters. Of his 28 remaining votes, 11 went to Cino, 9 to Priebus, and 8 to Anuzis. Wagner did not pick up any new votes.

3:56 pm – Michael Steele dropped out of the race after the fourth ballot, and endorsed Maria Cino, potentially tipping the race.

“Two years. We’ve had a good time. We’ve done a lot of good things,” Steele began. “But it’s very clear the party wants to do something a little different, and hopefully a little bit better. …and this is tough because, you know, it is what it is … so I really thank you for the chairmanship of this party for the two  years that we have had. And at this time I will step aside.”

“As probably many of you figured out,” he continued, after a break for thunderous applause, “I’m a fighter. And I’m a little bit obstinate, but I am because I believe in the fight,” Steele said.

“At this time, I release my supporters, and I ask them to join me in supporting,” he said, pausing for dramatic effect, “Maria Cino.” The announcement provoked cheers and applause, many from Cino’s large number of supporters in the audience.

3:44 pm – Steele is starting to bleed votes more quickly. After the fourth ballot, his total is down to 28, putting him in a tie for third with Wagner. Maria Cino is in second, coming back with 29 votes, and Saul Anuzis, though still in last, has seen an uptick in his votes. He is now up to 24, an announcement that elicityed applause from the crowd. Priebus holds the lead with 58 votes.

In a twist, someone wrote in the name of a sixth candidate who had not been nominated, making the vote ineligible.

3:10 pm – Priebus holds on to his lead in the third round but doesn’t seem to be able to do much with it. He has gained only two votes, putting him at 54. Steele’s votes are slowly trickling away: he’s down to 33, but he’s still holding on to his second place lead. Wagner, on the other hand, seems to be gaining momentum in a big way, pulling up right behind Steele with 32 votes. Cino lost another two votes in this round, leaving her with 28. Anuzis is still in last.

2:26 pm – Priebus wins the second round with 52 votes, putting him far in the lead as Steele drops to 37.  Cino has lost two votes, putting her down at 30, though still holding on to her third place spot. Wagner picked up a few votes giving her a total of 27, allowing her to edge out Anuzis whose total dropped to 22.

1:45 pm – After the first round of voting, Reince Priebus leads with 45 votes, with current Chairman Michael Steele in a close second with 44 votes. Maria Cino is the surprise with 32 votes, putting her in third place, despite having had the fewest public endorsements going into the vote. Anuzis is in fourth with 24 votes, and Ann Wagner trails with 23 votes. Cino could be the one to watch if predictions are correct that she has a lot of support as committee members’ second and third choices. Her team is hoping to hold onto her numbers in the second round, and build up from there.

After the first round, no candidate has dropped out.

1:15 pm – The Republican National Committee begins voting for its next chairman shortly, and there is little consensus as to who will win or how many ballots will be necessary. There is wistful hoping by RNC staff that it will end after two ballots so that everyone can get home, but what little consensus there is suggests that it will go for at least three ballots, and likely more.

It’s going to depend a lot on “who is everyone’s second choice,” said Priscilla Rakestraw, Delaware National Committeewoman and the longest serving member on the RNC. Rakestraw is supporting Maria Cino.

“Many of us feel very strongly,” she said, noting that Cino is seen to have been gaining momentum over the past week, but adding, “I wish we had another week.”

Rakestraw said the third ballot would tell, and that the first two ballots would likely be “static.”

“I think we’re going to be in for several ballots,” Chris Healy, chairman of the Connecticut GOP, told The Daily Caller. Healy is voting for Saul Anuzis, and said he would stay with him through the whole thing: “until released.”

“Now the fun begins,” said Ron Gleason, the chairman from Pennsylvania said, observing that it will all depend on what happens behind the scenes. “Deals are made,” he said.

“Reince has a very good chance but it all depends on what the line up is,” Gleason said. “Who’s last on the first ballot and whether they drop off, and decide if they’re going to support someone else.” Gleason, however, will stay with his candidate of choice, Reince Priebus all the way.

“I don’t understand how you commit for one ballot,” he said. “So no, I’m with him all the way.”

Uncertainty seems to be the common consensus. “It’s wide open,” said Ron Nehring, chairman of the California GOP. “There’s no magic; there’s no hocus pocus. It’s wide open. That’s it,” he said. Nehring predicted multiple rounds of voting: “three, four, five,” he said, shrugging and trailing off.

Nehring is running for treasurer of the Committee, and has therefore declined to publicly endorse any candidate.