Washington — Former Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele dropped his bid for a second term on Friday after being offered a lucrative deal in exchange for his endorsement, sources on the committee tell The Hotline.
Steele dropped out of the race for chairman after four ballots on Friday and threw his support to Maria Cino, a former Bush administration official who finished third in the race. Steele endorsed Cino from the stage after ending his bid, a rare public announcement in a contest marked more by quiet member-to-member conversations.
That endorsement came at a cost, according to committee insiders. As candidates jockeyed for position, Steele sat down with aides to both Cino and former RNC co-chairman Ann Wagner in search of a deal. Eventually, Cino allies offered Steele a deal that would have been more lucrative than the chairman’s salary, the sources said. The RNC chairman makes $224,500 a year. Whether the deal included guarantees of contracts or of future employment was not immediately clear to sources who spoke with The Hotline