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The RNC is losing two very talented aides in the next few days.

Chief of staff Mike Leavitt and communications director Doug Heye –leaving after the RNC after this week’s Winter Meeting. A new chairman will be picked Friday. They don’t expect Steele to win reelection – and wouldn’t stay if he did. Both were baffled by his decision to run again.

–Leavitt will accept a job with a lobbying/consulting firm in his native Maine, deciding between two offers in coming days. Both firms have offices in Portland and Augusta. With either firm, he’ll establish a Washington presence, splitting his time between here and the Pine Tree State.

–@DougHeye’s e-mail to friends, out soon: “I first walked into the RNC in 1992 to be an intern for David Winston. To come back eighteen years later and serve in such historic elections has been exhilarating. Thanks to my colleagues in the House and Senate leadership offices and the party committees. They are real pros at what they do and great people, as well. Also, I must note the tremendous job done by the communications, research and new media teams. They excelled under difficult circumstances and did so with good humor. I’m proud to call them colleagues and friends.”

h/t Mike Allen’s Playbook