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Monday
Dec132010

RNC Chairman Michael Steele Announces Re-Election Bid

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele announced on Monday that he will run for another term as head of the RNC, setting up what is sure to be one of the toughest fights of his political career.

Steele broke his public silence after more than a month, confirming in a conference call with members of the RNC that he would be seeking re-election after a tumultuous two-year term. He kept his intentions a closely guarded secret, and his decision to jump in the race surprised some Republican Party insiders who speculated that he would step aside.

"I'm asking you tonight for your support, I'm asking for your vote for a second term," Steele said on the call.

Steele’s decision sets up a battle with at least five other candidates who are vying to replace him, including two contenders who recently left RNC positions.

The challengers include Saul Anuzis, the former chairman of the Michigan GOP; Ann Wagner, former head of the Missouri Republican Party; Reince Priebus, chairman of the Wisconsin Republican Party and the RNC’s former general counsel; Maria Cino, a veteran of the Bush administration and a long-time GOP operative; and Gentry Collins, the RNC’s former political director. Steele’s predecessor, former RNC chief Mike Duncan, is also considering a run.

All candidates have roughly one month to campaign for the job. The vote of 168 committee members will take place at the RNC’s winter meeting in mid-January.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

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