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Open Thread: RNC Chairman Vote

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End Times?

Above the fold final update: Congratulations to newly elected Chairman Priebus.  I’m optimistic.


So today is the day.  Consensus seems to be that Wisconsin State Party Chair Reince Priebus is going to win.  He’s got 38 public commitments.  Steele’s all but done, with only 17 public commitments.  To put that into perspective, during the last election it was clear that Chairman Mike Duncan was toast when he only got 52 votes on the first ballot.

Priebus has the easiest shot, but he’s in a somewhat precarious position because he’s too pro-Steele for the anti-Steele people and too anti-Steele for the pro-Steele people.  If one of the dark horses, Ann Wagner (14 commitments), Saul Anuzis (14 commitments) or Maria Cino outperforms expectations on the early ballots we could see Steele’s supporters go to Priebus and everyone else going to the de facto anti-Steele consensus candidate.

Priebus is hoping to hit a number on the early ballots that confirm his inevitability, so RNC members who don’t want to spend the next term locked outside will get behind the winner.

Nominations start around noon, and voting soon thereafter.

Note: Everything (and there’s a lot) is after the fold.

Update: I have to say I think all of the Priebus is a RINO stuff is out of place.  Sure, ideology matters everywhere, but if there’s anywhere where it matters the least, it’s the RNC.  The RNC is about fundraising and winning elections.  While Priebus was Wisconsin’s chair the GOP picked up the Governor’s mansion and ousted Russ Feingold at a time when Patty Murray, Harry Reid and Michael Bennet all survived.

Update II: The meeting thus far has been running like a pep rally for the Steele regime.  Maybe it’ll sway some people, but I think it probably hurts more than helps.  For his entire Chairmanship there’s been a narrative of Steele using the RNC like his own personal PAC.  Using the meeting to, pardon my french, suck his own dick seems to just further confirm suspicions.

Update III: Ouch.  Mark Preston at CNN points out some scary numbers from the RNC Treasurer.  $1 mil cash on hand, $21.3 mil in debt.  Considering that election day GOTV were tragically underfunded, where the hell were they spending this money?  On losing to Barbara Boxer?

Update IV: Luanne Van Werven posted an interesting photo of Ann Wagner and Saul Anuzis discussing something.  Hmmmm…

Update V: CSPAN is reporting Steele actually has 30 public commitments (don’t know how I missed that) and about 20 private commitments for the first ballot.  That means between him and Priebus there’s a majority.

Update VI: Tim Mak from Frum Forum is talking about a rumor of a deal between Wagner and Anuzis that after the 3rd ballot whoever’s trailing drops out and endorses the other.  Anuzis denies.

Update VII: First ballot is in.

Priebus: 45

Steele: 44

Cino: 32

Anuzis: 24

Wagner: 23

Should make for an interesting second ballot.  Steele actually managed to underperform, so he’s toast.  Priebus also underperformed, but we’ll see when it comes to him.  Big surprise is Cino.  We’ll see if there’s a mass exodus from either Wagner or Anuzis to keep Cino from running away from them.  Like people on a life raft resorting to cannibalism…

Update VIII: Here’s a question: was that ballot a huge muscle flex by Boehner? Basically all I’m hearing about her is some think she’s a lib and Boehner supports her.  I’m guessing her being a lib didn’t get her 32 votes.  Other question, will Steele supporters who feel betrayed by Priebus head her way?  Steele + Cino = 76 votes.

Update IX: Second ballot is in:

Priebus: 52

Steele: 37

Cino: 30

Wagner: 27

Anuzis: 22

Big ballot for Wagner and Priebus.  Confusing ballot of Cino, has to be disconcerting.  Means there were people only comfortable voting for her because they were convinced she couldn’t win.  Unless Priebus wraps this up soon (which he might, maybe on the 4th ballot) it could come down to a Priebus vs. Wagner showdown on the 5th ballot.

Update X: Let’s think about this for a second.  I think it’s safe to assume the 2 Anuzis lost went to Wagner.  So out of the 7 lost by Steele and the 2 lost by Cino, 7 went to Priebus and 2 went to Wagner.  Did all of the Steele defectors go to Priebus?  If that’s the case, are all the Cino voters going to go to Wagner?  If she picks up all of Cino and Anuzis supporters that puts her at 79, meaning she would still need to get 6 out of the Steele supporters.  Have to think there’s a growing sense of inevitability for Priebus right now.

Update XI: Third ballot is in:

Priebus: 54 (+2)

Steele: 33 (-4)

Wagner: 32 (+5)

Cino: 28 (-2)

Anuzis: 21 (-1)

HUGE ballot for Wagner.  She got at least 2 Steele votes.  People should start dropping out soon and then we’ll see, but going into this ballot it looked like Priebus might waltz the rest of the way, but that’s certainly not the case anymore.  The question is whether Wagner can gain on Priebus fast enough.  Priebus is still 31 votes short, but things will look very different when Steele drops out.  Anuzis should drop out soon, which presumably will be a big boost for Wagner.  Still, she doesn’t want to peak too soon.

Update XII: CSPAN just reported Steele is meeting with Wagner.  Hold onto your seats!

Update XIII: My first thought on a potential Steele/Wagner deal is it makes a lot of sense.  Right now I’d put her at 55-60% to win if this all goes on to the end, but a Steele endorsement plus the Anuzis and Cino voters makes her a true consensus candidate. Steele probably recognizes his leverage is peaking right now, before it goes either way.  Surprising Cino and Anuzis are still in.  I can imagine Cino trying to wait out Steele, but where does Saul Anuzis foresee getting another 64 votes?  Priebus has to be getting very nervous.

Update XIV: Trying to make sense of why everyone’s still in going into the 4th ballot.  My best guess is that Steele probably asked too much from Wagner, and she wants to wait till she can make a deal on her terms.  I’m also guessing Cino and Anuzis are trying to deal their support to Priebus.  He’d certainly pay a higher price than Wagner would at the moment.  Question is, can they deliver?  I have a hard time believing Anuzis’ guys would go to Priebus even with an endorsement, but frankly I’m shocked there are this many people sticking with either going into round 4.  We now know it’s either going to be Priebus or Wagner, both probably have deals on the table where they could lock it up.  High stakes poker game my friends.

Update XV: 4th ballot is in:

Priebus: 58 (+4)

Cino: 29 (+1)

Wagner: 28 (-4)

Steele: 28 (-5)

Anuzis: 24 (+3)

Big “What the Fuck?!” round.

Update XVI: Just on CSPAN, Anuzis left a back room, Steele and Wagner just went in.  Anuzis’ leverage is at its highest, to the point that you can’t count him out anymore (like I just did).  Quick math, Steele + Wagner + Anuzis = 80.  Would still need 5 from Cino no matter who buys the other 2’s support.  Big round for Priebus.

Update XVII: Steele told David Chalian he’s staying in for the next round.  Hmmmm…..

Update XVIII: Steele’s out.  He just endorsed Cino.

Update XIX: Steele + Cino = 57.  Now either Anuzis or Wagner has to make a move.

Update XX: This might never end.  If Anuzis backs Wagner they have 52, meaning there are 3 candidates with more than 50 and less than 60.  Who drops out with over 50 votes?  Something unexpected will probably happen on this ballot that changes everything, like half Steele’s people back Priebus over Cino or Priebus’ supporters all go to Cino or something like that.  But I don’t expect Wagner to back either Cino or Priebus (although I’d be less surprised seeing her back Priebus).

Update XXI: 5th ballot is in:

Priebus: 67 (+9)

Cino: 40 (+11)

Anuzis: 32 (+8)

Wagner: 28 (0)

Looks good for Priebus, but who’s gonna sell him the rest of his votes?  I’d assume Cino’s done after this (but I assumed that 2 rounds ago!) because I don’t see where the hell else she can get votes.  She got the biggest endorsement and only got 11 votes out of it.  CSPAN says Wagner and Anuzis are in a back room, I’m guessing Wagner’s gone and backing Anuzis.  Then Cino gets to pick Anuzis or Priebus.

Update XXII: Going into 6th ballot (jesus christ) Tim Mak is reporting that Wagner just left the meeting with Anuzis smiling, Anuzis did not look too pleased.  They’re voting now, so even if they have a deal it could be scuttled by the results of this ballot.  The obvious assumption, though, is that Anuzis is the one that’s gonna drop out, meaning Cino picks between Priebus and Wagner.  Weird situation, as you’d imagine Cino would pick Priebus because she’s a lefty, but her supporters would probably be more inclined towards Wagner.  Or this ballot could make all of this speculation moot (Priebus could win from Cino defectors if they defect en masse, he only needs 17).

Update XXIII: 6th ballot is in:

Priebus: 80 (+13)

Anuzis: 37 (+5)

Cino: 34 (-6)

Wagner: 17 (-11)

Alright, seems obvious enough Priebus wins on the next ballot regardless of whether anyone drops out.  No one really has any leverage anymore, as 5 are going to drift Priebus’ way even if everyone tries to make a deal to keep him out (which they won’t).  At least it’s not going to be Cino, no way the base tolerates a lobbyist for Obamacare as Chairman.

Update XXIV: Wagner is out, not endorsing anyone (like it matters).

Update XXV: 7th AND FINAL(!!!) ballot is in:

Priebus: 97 (+17)

Anuzis: 43 (+6)

Cino: 28 (-6)

Congrats Chairman Priebus!  I feel a lot better about him now than I did going into this.  He had rock solid messaging during nomination, and he didn’t cut any deals in winning.  Gangster.  With his success in Wisconsin, I’m looking forward to what he’s gonna do for the national GOP.

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