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Duncan leads after Rd. 1; Steele close

From NBC's Domenico Montanaro and Mark Murray
After the initial round of voting for RNC chairman, as expected, current chairman Mike Duncan is in the lead, but not by as much as his team would likely feel comfortable with.

The tally: Duncan 52, Steele 46, Dawson 28, Anuzis 22, Blackwell 20.

None received the necessary majority, and they will have to vote into a second round. There will be a 15-minute recess until the next vote.

The strong first-round showing indicates this could be moving toward a two-man race. But though the margin -- just six votes separating Duncan and Steele -- could be seen as good news for Steele and bad news for Duncan, the incumbent, a Duncan spokesman tells First Read that "52 is where we expected to be." He added that they hope to pick up ballots from either Anuzis or Dawson in later rounds.

The winning candidate needs 85 votes, a 50 plus one vote majority, to be named chairman.