As he contemplates running for a second term, Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele is on the verge of losing his coalition of supporters. Even some of those closest to the controversial chairman have begun urging him to step aside.

Strategists familiar with the RNC who both support and oppose Steele agree there are between 40 and 50 of the 168 voters who will back Steele for a second term. Another 40 to 50 members will definitely vote for someone else. The remaining members, numbering between 88 and 68, are undecided…

“It looks to me that he does not have the votes and is waiting to see what develops,” RNC treasurer Randy Pullen wrote in an email, obtained by The Hotline, to fellow RNC members on Wednesday. Pullen called for candidate forums in advance of this year’s elections, a call likely to be echoed by the most conservative members on the committee.