An Unorthodox Path To RNC Victory

Do you think Anuzis’s strategy of tying Priebus to Steele will work? I don’t:

Wisconsin Republican Party chairman Reince Priebus is the clear front-runner in the race to replace Michael Steele, but that doesn’t mean Priebus will waltz to victory. Instead, history shows the front-runner in the race to chair the Republican National Committee doesn’t always win.

Priebus has at least 33 public endorsements, according to our latest whip count, well on his way to the 85 out of 168 votes he needs to win the chairmanship outright. He has nearly twice the number of public supporters as Steele, his closest rival.

But the election itself is a complicated affair. A candidate must get a majority to win, and there are no requirements that anyone drop out of the race, meaning the contest can continue ad infinitum. The complicated calculus candidates must solve involves asking voters for second-place commitments if and when a voter’s preferred candidate drops out. A candidate with few first-place votes can speed ahead when others drop out, while a candidate with a large number of first-place votes can stagnate if there are no second-place votes waiting in the wings….

“The most important variable in determining the winner of the race is not who has an early block of support, but rather who is most acceptable to the greatest number of voters,” wrote Rhode Island GOPchairman Giovanni Cicione in a memo to committee members earlier this week. That factor, Cicione argued, bodes well for his preferred candidate — former Michigan Republican Party chairman Saul Anuzis.

Anuzis has run before, and a central, if unspoken, selling point of his campaign is that he’s friendly with a large number of committee members. Anuzis and other candidates in the race are moving to portray Priebus as the front-runner — and, by the way, as the clear heir to the Steele legacy. Priebus was close to Steele in the 2009 race, and served as his top attorney for nearly two years before quitting to launch his own bid. Tying Priebus to Steele, the other candidates believe, weakens Priebus’s chances.

Read more from Reid Wilson at Hotline On Call

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