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Spencer Abraham

Steele is elected chairman of RNC

Washington - Former Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele survived a five-hour ballot marathon to win election yesterday as the first African-American chairman of the Republican Party.

Steele was regarded as an outsider and an underdog in the five-way leadership contest. The other top contenders were all sitting members of the Republican National Committee, which had not reached outside its membership for a chairman in a contested election in more than 30 years.

"This is a remarkable moment," Steele told a post-election news conference. "Some say it's historic, but it's just one more step, one more bold step, that the party of Lincoln has taken since its...