From NBC's Domenico Montanaro and Mark Murray
Michael Steele's rocky tenure as chairman of the Republican National Committee has officially ended.
Steele dropped his bid for reelection only after four rounds of votes here at National Harbor that saw him lose votes in each subsequent round. He endorsed former Bush administration official Maria Cino. If all votes hold, and Steele's 28 combine with Cino's 29, that would put Cino in second place with 57 votes behind Wisconsin Chairman Reince Priebus, who at last tally had 58.
"How y'all doin,'" Steele said in signature Steele, as he took to the podium before fifth-round voting to announce his exit. "Two years, we had a good time. This is tough because it is what it is."
He added, "I step aside for others to lead. ... Despite the noise, despite the difficulties, we won."
He continued, "I'm a fighter, and I'm a little bit obstinate, but I am because I believe in the fight."
He went on to tout the committee's accomplishments, as he saw them -- raising $192 million -- "no asterisk"; winning 63 House seats -- "We won in places we haven't in a long time. ... It wasn't because of anything I did. ... It's what you did."
"I will step aside because I think the party is ready for something different," he said. "And now I exit, stage right."