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Dawson takes lead

From NBC's Domenico Montanaro
After the surprise drop out of former Chairman Mike Duncan, South Carolina party chairman Katon Dawson has taken a two-vote lead over Michael Steele, 62-60.

This comes despite Duncan encouraging his voters to go with Steele, a source close to Duncan told First Read.

Anuzis moved to 31, and Blackwell remained at 15, rounding out fourth-round voting.

The winning candidate needs 85 votes to clinch. That means Dawson now needs 23 more votes, and Steele needs 25.

Duncan met with Steele privately prior to dropping out to tell him of his plans, a source said. The source added that "he likes Steele," but he's not sure that the members will all move to Steele. Many of them aren't warm to Steele, because he's not a committee member.

The source also said that Duncan pulled out because he's a "party guy" and didn't want a long, drawn-out fight.

This now is shaping up to be a fight between, fundamentally, an "insider" (Dawson) and an "outsider" (Steele). It also ironically sets up the first African American to lead the Republican Party against a party chairman from the South, who was a member of a country club that was formerly all-white.