From NBC's Domenico Montanaro
Five candidates were nominated to be on the ballot for RNC chairman at this morning's final day of the RNC Winter Meeting.
The arguments for each candidate -- Ken Blackwell, Michael Steele, Mike Duncan, Katon Dawson and Saul Anuzis -- were laid out in speeches made by various committee members supporting their candidate. Each candidate had to have one nominator and at least one second.
First to be nominated was former Ohio Secretary of State Blackwell. His nominator lauded Blackwell's "13-4 record" -- "ironic" -- on this Super Bowl weekend. He extended the metaphor, comparing Blackwell to Arizona Cardinals' quarterback Kurt Warner.
"No one gave the Arizona Cardinals a chance," he said. "But they turned to Kurt Warner ... that's what we need. ... Ken Blackwell's life is the American Dream."
Next was the Michael Steele contingent. The case was made that he's a "quality man" with "quality values" who would most represent change. And that he's ready "this sunday" to go on Fox News Sunday. One of the selling points for Steele is that he's one of the better, if not the best, communicator of the candidates.
The argument for Duncan, the current chairman who his opponents argue least represents change, was one of exactly that -- change. There were several Obama themes echoed, as his nominator proclaimed Duncan is "fired up and ready to fight" and that he is the "change we need." What is perhaps, though, Duncan's best selling point is his fundraising ability. He outraised the DNC and fueled much of McCain's campaign. "If we can't raise money, we can't win," one nominator said. (Duncan received the loudest applause. Steele was second.)
Another took a veiled shot at Steels, saying, it's not about "one person on TV" -- "it's about all of us, sharing conservative values across the country."
For Dawson, it was a message of experience, not change. A sticking point for Dawson has been his membership in a country club that until recently was all-white. The National Committeeman from South Carolina, who is black, nominated Dawson. "He's a uniter," he said. Dawson's ability to raise money and win races was also put forward. Despite his helping to win races in South Carolina, his nominator said, "You think that's easy; it's not."
The main argument for Anuzis was a willingness and ability to use technology to spread the Republican message as well as an enthusiasm to go anywhere to sell that message.
Currently, the first ballot is taking place, as members are submitting their ballots.