Sources: Ron Paul candidate unlikely to qualify in RNC chairman’s race

Alex Pappas Political Reporter
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The Ron Paul supporter who has been trying to garner support to run for chairman of the Republican National Committee will likely not qualify to be on the ballot before the Thursday deadline, The Daily Caller has learned.

If Maine national committeeman Mark Willis does not qualify by 5 p.m. Thursday, current chairman Reince Priebus will face no opposition in his re-election.

The contest is slated for Friday afternoon during the party’s winter meeting in Charlotte, N.C. Candidates must qualify for the chairman’s election by being nominated by at least two committee members from at least three states.

Until now, Willis and his supporters said he has support lined up in both Maine and Nevada, meaning he only needed one other state to qualify. But a Republican source told TheDC on Thursday that Willis no longer has the required support needed from the committee members in Nevada, indicating his path to qualifying is even harder now.

“He only has one,” the source said of states willing to nominate Willis, “and that’s his home state of Maine.”

In fact, the source said, the Nevada committee members have signed a declaration of support to nominate Priebus.

In a brief phone interview on Thursday, Willis confirmed that Nevada National Committeeman James Smack informed him Thursday he would withdraw his support.

Neither Smack nor Michael McDonald, the Nevada GOP chairman, could immediately be reached for comment Thursday.

While Willis acknowledged the long odds of getting on the ballot, he said he still plans to work until the qualifying deadline to try to make it on the ballot.

“There are still a couple states that I’m talking to,” Willis said. “I’m just going to take this thing to the end.”

Even if Willis qualifies, Priebus is still expected to win. Sources inside the committee have told TheDC that Priebus has commitments from nearly 150 members. There are 168 Members on the RNC, and 85 votes are needed to win.

Willis only announced his intention to run for chairman over the last several weeks.

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