Politics & Policy

Chairman’s Race Still Up for Grabs

Several factors make tomorrow’s election, in the words of Virginia committeeman Morton Blackwell, “impossible to predict.”

First, many members are missing. Vermont committeewoman Susie Hudson, for instance, was absent from this morning’s rules-committee meeting on account of the weather. At least one other member is sending a proxy.

Second, many members are undecided about their second choices. And whoever wins is almost certain to be most members’ second choice. For example, Colorado GOP chairman Dick Wadhams, a declared supporter of Saul Anuzis, tells RNC Watch he’ll stay with Anuzis until the end. But if the end comes, he hasn’t “the foggiest idea” whom he’ll support on subsequent ballots. “I’m up for grabs,” Wadhams says. “I like them all.” When asked if that means he could vote for the current chairman, Wadhams confirms, “I could vote for Steele.”

Meanwhile, Connecticut committeeman John Frey maintains his support for Steele, though he admits he’s meeting with the other candidates. “I could live with any of them,” he tells RNC Watch.

The candidates are doing all they can to exploit the ambiguity. They’re squeezing in meetings, slipping campaign literature under hotel-room doors, and even giving gifts. Over Christmas, RNC Watch hears members received everything from Wisconsin cheddar cheese to boxes of chocolates to biographies of Ronald Reagan. This morning, Saul Anuzis’s supporters were distributing football-shaped campaign stickers while Ann Wagner and Reince Priebus’s helpers were also handing out paraphernalia.

Blackwell tells RNC Watch he thinks balloting may go five or six rounds tomorrow. With so much uncertainty in the air, that sounds plausible.

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