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Priebus Leads for RNC Chairmanship After Wagner Drops Out

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — After six rounds of voting, Wisconsin GOP Chairman Reince Priebus was just five votes short of the 85 votes needed to win the race for chairman of the Republican National Committee.

Following the sixth round, Priebus had 80 votes, former Michigan GOP Chairman Saul Anuzis had 37, former RNC official Maria Cino had 34 and former Missouri GOP Chairwoman Ann Wagner had just 17. That vote led Wagner to drop out.

Asked if the race was over, one state party chairman looked at the latest tally and told Roll Call, “I don’t see how it’s not.”

After never finishing higher than second place, current chairman Michael Steele was the first candidate to drop out after the fourth round. He urged his supporters to back Cino.

Priebus is a palatable choice to members who prefer to support another member, but some members saw him as being too close to Steele. He managed Steele’s campaign for chairman in 2009 and served as his general counsel until recently. But longtime RNC member Alec Poitevint from Georgia, a Priebus supporter from the start, said Friday morning that he didn’t think that was a big deal.

“I think that a lot of us have worked to make Steele successful,” he told Roll Call.

Kyle Trygstad contributed to this report.

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