Prayers answered.

Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele bowed out of his longshot bid for a second term, bringing an end to a two-year tenure more defined by gaffes than the electoral victories his party racked up.

“I will step aside because I think the party is ready for something different,” said Steele before the fifth ballot for chairman began. He immediately threw his support to former RNC official Maria Cino’s candidacy.

Even in defeat, however Steele was unapologetic about his time in office. “I hope you all appreciate the legacy we leave,” he told the 168 members of the RNC. “Despite the noise, despite the difficulties, we won.”

Steele finished second on the first ballot, a single vote behind Wisconsin Republican party chairman Reince Priebus. But he progressively lost support as the balloting went on as the 168 committee members made clear that they have decided to move past his stormy time in office.

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