Guy Benson
Despite speculation to the contrary, fueled by his participation in a candidate forum earlier this month, former RNC Chairman Mike Duncan announced today that he will not seek to reclaim his old job in January:

After careful deliberation, I have concluded that I will not seek the chairmanship of the Republican National Committee.

The 2012 political season will be the most vigorous in American history. The next RNC chairman must be available seven days a week to raise nearly one million dollars each deposit day – to fund party programs necessary to win back the White House, elect a Republican majority in the U.S. Senate, retain Republican control of the U.S. House, and conduct a successful decennial redistricting. While I was able to devote the requisite time and energy to run the Committee during my 2007-2009 tenure, changes in my family, business and outside responsibilities make it impossible for me to devote the time needed to effectively lead the RNC over the next two years. 

I greatly appreciate those RNC members who urged me to run – and I would not have considered entering the race without your encouragement. I also appreciate the elected officials, friends and complete strangers who contacted and encouraged me about the race.

With Duncan out of the running, the current official field stands at six: Steele, Ann Wagner, Reince Priebus, Saul Anuzis, Gentry Collins, and Maria Cino

UPDATE: In another blow to Michael Steele's faltering standing at the RNC, the organization's top fundraiser has resigned.

UPDATE II: Hotline offers a preliminary whip count.


Guy Benson

Guy Benson is Townhall.com's Senior Political Editor. Follow him on Twitter @guypbenson.

Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography