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Time will tell whether Michael Steele is a top contender for the post of RNC chairman, or an also-ran. If he got the job, it would certainly be a point of pride for Maryland Republicans.

But it probably wouldn't help the beleaguered party here all that much, and could actually hurt it.

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Steele is one of perhaps two or three Maryland Republicans with a shot at statewide office, something the party badly needs. The others are Bob Ehrlich, and possibly Kendel Ehrlich (although there's a risk she could be a Fred Thompson/Sarah Palin type candidate -- the kind who receives their greatest support on the day they announce their intentions, and then slide steadily downhill from there).

To repeat a frequently made point, Steele has never been elected to anything on his own in Maryland, or elsewhere. His record as Maryland Republican chairman is mixed -- his legacy was a strategic plan for the party which has failed to produce results.

There's no guarantee he could get elected, say, governor in Maryland. But if he were RNC chairman, it's doubtful he would run. If Ehrlich passed on the race, too, that would seriously erode the already narrow chances of Republicans picking up a statewide office. If he were RNC chairman, Steele might swing into Maryland every now and then. But given the state's overwhelmingly Democratic bent, it's not a place for the national party to steer resources (the 1st Congressional District being the obvious exception). After all, how much was a former Maryland RNC chairman, Ken Mehlman, able to do for his home state?

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