Wisconsin GOP Chairman Reince Priebus needs a strong showing in the first round of balloting at the Republican National Committee chairmanship vote or he could lose support, according to one observer.

"If Reince does well, he may surge on momentum and take it fast," GOP consultant Mike Murphy wrote in an analysis of the race. "Many of the RNC members have only made a first ballot commitment. If they think Priebus is going to surge, many will join the bandwagon to be on the winning side.

"If he looks vulnerable, they may try to go somewhere else."

Priebus currently leads the five-person chairmanship race with 36 declared RNC members publicly backing him, according to a tally by National Review Online.

Current RNC Chairman Michael Steele is in second, with 27 members backing him. But Murphy said Steele has no chance of winning.

"I think there is about a 60 percent chance that Priebus will take it, followed by a 35 percent chance for [former Michigan GOP chairman Saul] Anuzis and a 10 percent chance for a [former Bush administration official Maria] Cino upset," he said. "The good news is that no Steele type disaster is looming."