RNC chairmanship update: Rove favorite has the inside track

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Stu Rothenberg has a piece about the six-way race for chairman of the Republican National Committee in Real Clear Politics today, which he says is too close to call between frontrunners Michael Duncan, who is seeking a second term, and former Maryland Lieutenant Governor Michael Steele. Rothenberg gives a slight edge to Duncan, including this observation about a familiar name: Well-placed sources also say that the current RNC chairman is the choice of one-time master White House strategist Karl Rove, who apparently believes that he can continue to exert significant influence on the direction of the party as long as Duncan is in charge. It is hard to imagine why the Rs would want Duncan. As a southerner, he will have a hard time expanding the GOP base (which he obviously didn’t do in his first term). And, as Rothenberg points out, the choice of Duncan sends a message of bizarre complacency at a time when alarm bells are going off everywhere. Steele and former Ohio secretary of state Ken Blackwell have the highest national profiles, but both are black, and it is unlikely that the GOP can attract black voters in large numbers when Obama is in the White House. It is very strange to look out at America from the vantage point of Texas, seeing a Republican party that is in ruins across three-fourths of the country, while here the GOP remains solidly in power.

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