RNC candidates backed by Wadhams, Hillman trail on first ballots

The two candidates for Republican National Committee chairman endorsed by Colorado RNC members are vying for last place after four rounds of balloting, Dave Weigel reports on our sister site The Washington Independent. Colorado GOP chairman Dick Wadhams has publicly backed Michigan GOP chairman Saul Anuzis and RNC committeeman Mark Hillman threw in with former Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell, but the rest of the RNC seem to be favoring the other three candidates for the top party post.

None of the candidates — the other three are current RNC chairman Mike Duncan, South Carolina GOP chairman Katon Dawson and former Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael Steele — have dropped out after four rounds of secret balloting, but there’s plenty of jostling for position. Here are the results so far:

First ballot results:
Mike Duncan – 52
Michael Steele – 46
Katon Dawson – 28
Saul Anuzis – 22
Ken Blackwell – 20

Second ballot results:
Mike Duncan – 48
Michael Steele – 48
Katon Dawson – 29
Saul Anuzis – 24
Ken Blackwell – 19

Third ballot results:
Michael Steele – 51
Mike Duncan – 44 (Duncan drops out)
Katon Dawson – 34
Saul Anuzis – 24
Ken Blackwell – 15

Fourth ballot results:
Katon Dawson – 62
Michael Steele – 60
Saul Anuzis – 31
Ken Blackwell – 15

Who will blink first? “Lots of eyes on Anuzis, who knows he’s been beaten,” Weigel reports of Wadhams’ favored candidate. But don’t count out Hillman pick Blackwell yet. One of his supporters told Weigel they remember 1997, when an early third-place finisher finally won the race. “Good game face,” Weigel assesses. “Ken Blackwell’s people want to stay through five ballots.”

Colorado’s third RNC member, Committeewoman Lilly Nuñez, didn’t make a public endorsement before the secret balloting began. No word on where her allegiance is going.

A sixth candidate to lead the Republicans, Chip Saltsman, who won notoriety when he sent a CD containing the the song parody “Barack the Magic Negro” to RNC members, dropped out Thursday and threw his support to Blackwell, one of two African-American candidates still standing (the other is Steele).

Politico’s Ben Smith points out that nearly every one of the five African-American RNC members was on stage for the nominations Friday morning:

There aren’t many African-Americans in, or aspiring to, the leadership of the Republican Party, but they’re almost all on stage at the RNC meeting today, Alex Burns reports. Two are candidates for chairman, and out of five nominating speeches given in the chairman’s election, two were given by African Americans.

Glenn McCall, the committeeman for South Carolina, nominated his home-state chairman, Katon Dawson. And Keith Butler, the committeeman for Michigan, nominated Michigander Saul Anuzis.

There is only one other black RNC member: Ada Fisher, the North Carolina committeewoman who supports Dawson.

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