WASHINGTON — GOP Chairman Michael Steele is fighting for survival atop the Republican National Committee, seeking to hold off four challengers accusing him of financial mismanagement and poor stewardship during his rocky, two-year tenure.

The 168 members of the RNC were set to vote by secret ballot Friday on who should serve as party chairman during the 2012 presidential election cycle, when Republicans will try to defeat President Barack Obama. Eighty-five votes are needed for victory.

Steele, who shocked many fellow Republicans by deciding to seek a second term, registered some level of public support as the RNC’s winter meeting convened this week. But many committee members were keeping their intentions private and several rounds of votes are expected, making it impossible to predict the outcome.

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