It took all afternoon and into the evening, and six votes, but the new Chair of the Republican National Committee is Michael Steele (who lost his Senate bid to Ben Cardin in 2006, primarily because he refused to put "Republican" on any of his materials, but pushed his campaign to "Steele Democrats.") He was featured in an ABC report in 2006:
The GOP Senate candidate who anonymously described his Republican affiliation as an "impediment" to his electoral prospects while speaking with the Washington Post’s Dana Milbank and others at a Monday luncheon is none other than Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael Steele, ABC News learned Tuesday. "’I’ve got an ‘R’ here, a scarlet letter,’" said Steele of his party affiliation. "’If this race is about Republicans and Democrats, I lose.’"
It took most of the day, but the Republicans have now got a black Chairman… this seems to be their competitive edge against Obama’s Democrats. What fun the 2010 campaigns will be. This is from Talking points Memo:
Steele Wins RNC Chairmanship By Eric Kleefeld – January 30, 2009, 4:08PM Meet the new chairman of the Republican National Committee: Former Maryland Lt. Governor Michael Steele, who defeated South Carolina party chairman Katon Dawson by a 91-77 margin on the sixth ballot. "As a little boy growing up in this town — this is awesome," Steele said bluntly in accepting his victory. Steele came six votes shy of the magic number 85 on the fifth ballot, and was able to get over the top after Michigan chairman Saul Anuzis dropped out to make it a clear two-man race. Steele is now the first African-American chairman of the RNC. The Republicans might have realized just how awful it would have been for the GOP’s image if Steele hadn’t won. The alternative was Dawson, who until just recently belonged to an all-white country club and has said he got involved in politics as a teenage opponent of busing programs in the 1960s — not exactly the best face to oppose Barack Obama’s agenda.