Huffpost Politics

Dick Cheney Lines Up Behind Likely Steele Challenger Maria Cino

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Dick Cheney and other GOP heavyweights are setting up a fundraiser for Maria Cino, a former Bush Commerce Department official and Deputy Transportation Secretary who may soon be announcing her intent to challenge Michael Steele for the RNC chair position.

According to CNN the event will be held at GOP strategist Mary Matalin's Virginia home and feature guests such as Ed Gillespie, former New York Rep. Bill Paxon and former Bush aides Melissa Bennett and Emily Lampkin. It is reportedly designed to channel donations into Cino's recently created 527 group.

According to CNN's report:

But as the fundraiser makes clear, Cino is all but certain to jump in the race and could formally announce her bid at the end of next week. She is slated to participate in a closed-door interview session Thursday with the bloc of RNC conservatives.

The lining up of powerful Bush-era officials, including the administration's vice president, against Michael Steele is the latest sign of bad news for the RNC Chairman, who was recently hit with a poll that suggested Republican voters were strongly supportive of his departure. And that was before he was tripped up yet again by news that he'd allegedly showered large amounts of RNC money on a longtime aide.

Saul Anuzis, former GOP chairman of Michigan, has already officially announced his plans to take on Steele for the RNC leadership role, as has former Luxembourg ambassador Anne Wagner. More challengers are still expected to throw their hats into the ring in the lead-up to the mid-January selection process.

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