Updated 9:12 p.m.
Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele announced on a conference call with RNC members Monday night that he will seek reelection, defying the expectations of many and setting up what appears likely to be a hotly contested race to retain his seat.
Now garnering backing from 50 or fewer of the 168 RNC members -- he'd need at least 85 to win reelection -- the former Maryland lieutenant governor kept his own counsel on the decision until the last minute and has come a long way from the combative figure who once dared members of the party to oust him if they didn't like his style.
"I'm the chairman. Deal with it," he'd told a radio host in response to intra-party sniping as recently as July.
Here's how the man in charge of the GOP committee during Republicans' record electoral year damaged his own reputation -- and why his bid for election won't be an easy one:
Franke-Ruta was previously national web politics editor at The Washington Post, and has also worked at The American Prospect, The Washington City Paper, The New Republic and National Journal magazines. In 2007, she and the other contributors to The American Prospect 's blog "Tapped" won the Hillman Prize. In 2006, she was fellow at the Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School in Cambridge, Mass., and in 2007, a summer fellow with The Iowa Independent, based in Des Moines, Iowa. Garance has lectured at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, the Harvard Art Museums, Williams College, Wellesley College, Brandeis and Georgetown Universities, and taught in Georgetown's Master of Professional Studies in Journalism program. She has also has made numerous appearances on national and regional television and radio programs. Born in the South of France, Franke-Ruta grew up in San Cristobal de las Casas in Chiapas, Mexico; New York City; and Santa Fe, New Mexico. She has lived and worked in Washington, D.C., since graduating from Harvard in 1997.