POLITICS -- January 14, 2011 at 8:29 AM ET
RNC Chief Steele Meets His Political Fate
Reince Priebus, left, and Republican National Committee chief Michael Steele participate at the chairmanship debate earlier this month. Photo by Bill Clark/Roll Call.
It's Election Day for the 168 members of the Republican National Committee. They will head into a hotel ballroom just outside of Washington Friday afternoon to select a new face as leader of the party until a presidential nominee emerges from the still undefined pack.
"Steele is unlikely to win another term today, but he's going to play a role in electing his successor. A bloc of Steele supporters -- more than a dozen, fewer than two dozen -- are expected to bolt his coalition after the first ballot," writes Reid Wilson of National Journal.
POLITICO's Jonathan Martin and Alex Burns have the latest whip count:
"Wisconsin Republican Party Chairman Reince Priebus, a former Steele adviser and RNC general counsel, has support from more than a quarter of the committee - 44 members, according to POLITICO's running tally.
"In contrast, just 24 members of the committee are known to have decided to support Steele for reelection.
"That puts the incumbent closer to several of his challengers than to Priebus: Michigan Committeeman Saul Anuzis has 16 known supporters, Missouri GOP Chair Ann Wagner has 14 and longtime operative and Pfizer lobbyist Maria Cino has 12."
Voting gets underway in the early afternoon and may go as late as 8 p.m. ET, according to an RNC official.
If no candidate receives the required 85 votes to secure the chairmanship, balloting automatically advances to an additional round.
As candidates assess their level of support, watch to see who drops early and where they decide to throw their support.
When a new chairman does emerge from the process, he or she will have a heavy task in front of them. The new chief will inherit a national party committee that is $20 million in the red and an infrastructure that has atrophied.
Check back later Friday afternoon on the Rundown for an update on the voting.
BACK TO BUSINESS
After a week-long pause on heated partisan legislative debate, the House Republican majority announced its intention to bring up the health care repeal bill for debate and a vote next week.
"As the White House noted, it is important for Congress to get back to work, and to that end we will resume thoughtful consideration of the health care bill next week," said Brad Dayspring, a spokesman for House Majority Leader Eric Cantor. "Americans have legitimate concerns about the cost of the new health care law and its effect on the ability to grow jobs in our country. It is our expectation that the debate will continue to focus on those substantive policy differences surrounding the new law."
Debate will most likely begin on Tuesday evening and occur all day Wednesday before a vote on Wednesday evening.
After all the talk of toning down the political rhetoric in the wake of the shootings in Tucson, all will be watching and listening for a shift in tone in the way lawmakers conduct the debate.
House Republicans have no plans of changing the name of the bill, which refers to the current health care law as "job killing."
One thing the Tucson tragedy has not changed is the congressional math. Health care repeal is likely to pass the House with ease and, just as easily, go nowhere in the Democratic controlled Senate.
2010: YEAR OF THE NEGATIVE AD
If it seemed like the number and negativity of political TV ads last fall exceeded past elections, it's because they did, according to a study released Thursday by researchers at Wesleyan University.
The researchers found more than half -- 53.5 percent -- of the spots broadcast by congressional and gubernatorial candidates in the final two months of the campaign were attack ads.
That contrasted with nearly 45 percent in 2008 and less than a third in 2004, 2002 and 2000. Data were not available for 2006.
Of the ads run specifically by the candidates, only 36 percent were negative. Ninety-six percent of the ads run by the parties, meanwhile, were negative -- along with 87 percent of those run by independent groups.
The analysis also found Democrats had a slightly more positive media approach, with 28 percent of their ads run being promotional, compared with about 24 percent by Republican candidates.
The report, written by Wesleyan professor Erika Franklin Fowler and Washington State University professor Travis Ridout, attributed the uptick in negativity to a increase in the number of seats up for grabs in 2010, with "at least twice the number of truly competitive races as in a typical midterm."
CLINTON TO CHICAGO
Chicago mayoral candidate Rahm Emanuel will get a very public job recommendation from his former boss, Bill Clinton, at a campaign rally next Tuesday.
Emanuel served as a senior adviser in the Clinton administration, and most recently was chief of staff to President Obama.
The Emanuel-Clinton event is scheduled for 11 a.m. CST at the Chicago Cultural Center.
Emanuel's top challenger is former U.S. Sen. Carol Moseley Braun, who previously warned Clinton not to campaign for Emanuel.
In a statement released last month, Moseley Braun said Clinton "risks his legacy and the great respect that he has enjoyed among African Americans by coming to Chicago to endorse Rahm Emanuel."
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