Ex-RNC head: Steele candidacy doomed

Michael Steele's bid for a second term as chairman of the Republican National Committee (RNC) is doomed, according to a former head of the party.

Mike Duncan, who held the top RNC post from 2007 to 2009, told cn|2 Politics's Ryan Alessi he thinks Steele is effectively "out of the race."

"I think there have been so many people who have announced — particularly from his core group of supporters — that they won't support him again, that he probably falls by the wayside after the first or second ballot," Duncan said.

Steele faces four challengers in his bid for a second two-year term. Duncan wouldn't point to a front-runner to succeed the chairman. "It's probably wide open," he said.

Duncan added that former Missouri Republican Party Chairwoman Ann Wagner and Maria Cino, a former Bush administration official, are "extremely well qualified."

Asked about the prospects of Wisconsin Republican Reince Priebus, who is considered the favorite by many observers, Duncan said that the front-runner generally "loses momentum after the first or second ballot."

This isn't the first time Duncan has criticized the man who now holds his job. In December, he questioned Steele's fundraising ability.

"The stakes are so high that, to save America, we must change the leadership at the top of the committee," Duncan said.

Duncan told Alessi that the RNC will need to raise $350 to $400 million in the next two years. He said that reports about the RNC owing more than $20 million are simply the tip of the iceberg.

"We don't know the extent of how much the RNC owes," he said.

Duncan hasn't made an endorsement in the chairman's race, which will be decided Jan. 14.

--Updated at 4:34 p.m.

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