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updated 1/14/2011 12:13:12 PM ET 2011-01-14T17:13:12

Sometime this afternoon, in a sprawling hotel complex across the Potomac River from Washington D.C., the 168 members of the Republican National Committee will choose the new face of their organization.

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Current chairman Michael Steele stunned his critics by announcing last month that he would seek another term, but open dissatisfaction with Steele’s leadership by most of the committee members has made his chances of re-election dim.

On MSNBC’s “Daily Rundown” this morning, former RNC chair Jim Nicholson said flatly that Steele has been “a miserable failure at that job.”

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Here’s a quick look at the four contenders to replace Steele:

Reince Priebus: The Wisconsin GOP chair is considered the frontrunner to replace Steele, boasting the most on-the-record backers among the RNC’s 168 committee members. Priebus previously served as the RNC’s top legal counsel and was once one of Steele’s closest allies.

Maria Cino: A former Bush administration official who helped organize the 2008 Republican National Convention, Cino has the backing of some high profile GOPers, including House Speaker John Boehner and former Vice President Dick Cheney.

Anne Wagner: Wagner, a former ambassador to Luxembourg and Missouri Republican Party chairwoman, has a reputation as a tough political operative. She comes to the race fresh from helping to lead Roy Blunt’s Senate campaign to a 13-point landslide.

Saul Anuzis: An underdog in the race, the Michigan GOP chairman ran unsuccessfully against Steele in 2009. Known for his enthusiastic use of social media, he’s an ally of former Speaker Newt Gingrich who could benefit from his close personal relationships with other committee members.

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