The five candidates running to lead the Republican National Committee will debate Monday afternoon, and many expect the contest to turn ugly as an embattled Michael Steele fights to hold onto his job. The current chairman will "name names" and "make it personal," Fox News' Chris Stirewalt reports. Few in Washington expected Steele to run for reelection, given his many cringe-worthy remarks and poor fundraising record (the RNC will likely face a debt of $12 million at the start of next year, by far the biggest debt ever in a presidential campaign year). Now few expect Steele to win.
The candidates are Wisconsin committee chair Reince Priebus, ex-Michigan chair Saul Anuzis, ex-RNC co-chair Ann Wagner, and ex-RNC deputy chair Maria Cino. They need 85 of the 168 RNC members' votes to win. "The man to watch is Priebus, the frontrunner in public endorsements," Stirewalt reports. "The knock on Priebus is that he and Steele are somehow in cahoots." Priebus is even using the same political consultants Steele used. "The suspicion is that Priebus is either a stalking horse intended to divide the opposition and clear a path for Steele, or that Steele has remained in the race to block for Priebus. For Talladega Nights fans, this would be the 'shake and bake' strategy. But who’s Ricky Bobby in this scenario?"