It took 6 rounds, but apparently Michael Steele finally drew the short straw, er, won.
Members of the Republican National Committee elected their first-ever African-American party chief on Friday, choosing former Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael Steele to chair the organization after six rounds of tumultuous balloting.
After five rounds of voting, the race for the chairmanship came down to a choice between Steele and Katon Dawson, the South Carolina GOP chairman who secured strong support from party insiders after former chairman Mike Duncan dropped out of the race earlier in the day.
Steele emerged as the winner on the sixth ballot, winning with 91 votes. A candidate needed a simple majority of 85 votes from the 168-member committee to secure victory.
For the duration of his campaign, Steele fought perceptions that he was too moderate to lead the party because of his blue state roots and his former membership in the Republican Leadership Council, a group that sought to curb the influence of social conservatives in the party.
“I’m proud to say I’m a conservative, have been, always will be,” Steele told CNN earlier this month. “So this notion that I’m a moderate is slightly overblown, and quite frankly a lie.”