The New GOP Chairman: Reince Priebus

More

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- Wisconsin Republican Party chief Reince Priebus on Friday will serve as chairman of the Republican National Committee, securing enough votes to deny Michael Steele a second term and holding off three additional challengers.

Priebus won a majority of the 168 votes after seven rounds of balloting, eventually besting former Michigan Republican Party Chairman Saul Anuzis in the last round. Priebus led balloting consistently throughout, growing from 45 votes on the first ballot, one more than Steele, who abandoned his bid after seeing his vote totals drop in four rounds of voting.


The Wisconsin chairman pledged during his campaign to operate the committee in stark contrast with Steele's style. He promised to open contracts to a competitive bidding process and to involve members of the committee in major decisions.

Still, Priebus faced major hurdles from the start, not least of which was his proximity to Steele himself, who had become deeply unpopular on the committee. In 2009, Priebus was Steele's closest advisor and biggest backer; Steele appointed Priebus general counsel after winning, and Priebus spent much of the next two years defending Steele and comforting upset members. Opponents used that connection to imply Priebus would run the committee like his predecessor, a charge Priebus spent much of his time denying.

Even when he served as Steele's close advisor, Priebus was able to maintain good relations with the RNC membership. He enjoyed early support from both Steele allies and detractors, building a coalition that, once Steele dropped out, became insurmountable.

In winning the chairmanship, Priebus will take over a committee deeply in debt and beset by management problems after Steele's tumultuous two years in office. The RNC is more than $20 million in debt, according to internal finance figures; a $5 million line of credit comes due in late February, though RNC officials are negotiating a new payment plan.

Jump to comments
Presented by
Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

Tracing Sriracha's Origin to a Seaside Town in Thailand

Ever wonder how the wildly popular hot sauce got its name? It all started in Si Racha.


Elsewhere on the web

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Where the Wild Things Go

A government facility outside of Denver houses more than a million products of the illegal wildlife trade, from tigers and bears to bald eagles.

Video

Adults Need Playtime Too

When was the last time you played your favorite childhood game?

Video

Is Wine Healthy?

James Hamblin prepares to impress his date with knowledge about the health benefits of wine.

Video

The World's Largest Balloon Festival

Nine days, more than 700 balloons, and a whole lot of hot air

Writers

Up
Down

More in Politics

Just In