|Chairperson of the Republican National Committee|
January 20, 2011
|Preceded by||Michael Steele|
|Born||Reinhold Richard Priebus
March 18, 1972
Dover, New Jersey, U.S.
|Alma mater||University of Wisconsin, Whitewater (B.A.)
University of Miami (J.D.)
Priebus was born in Dover, New Jersey, and grew up in Netcong, New Jersey, until his family moved to Wisconsin when he was seven. His father is a former union electrician and his mother a real estate agent. Some sources identify his parents as Roula and Dimitra, while others, including his GOP bio, specify "Richard and Dimitra", with "Roula" as a nickname for his mother. Priebus is of German and Greek descent. At 16, he volunteered for several political campaigns in high school. After graduating from high school, he attended the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, where he majored in English and political science, and joined the Delta Chi fraternity. Priebus graduated cum laude in 1994 and prior to that had been elected to serve as student body president and was president of the College Republicans.
After graduation from Whitewater, Priebus served as a clerk for the Wisconsin State Assembly Education Committee. He then enrolled at the University of Miami School of Law in Coral Gables, Florida. While studying for his law degree, he worked as a clerk for the Wisconsin Court of Appeals, the Wisconsin Supreme Court, and the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida, and also interned at the NAACP Legal Defense Fund in California.
In 1998, he graduated with a J.D. degree cum laude from the University of Miami after serving as president of the Law School Student Body. He moved back to Wisconsin and became a member of the State Bar. Subsequently, he joined Wisconsin law firm Michael Best & Friedrich LLP, where he became a partner in 2006, practicing in the firm's litigation and corporate practice groups. While working at Michael Best & Friedrich, he was named as one of Wisconsin Super Lawyers magazine's "Rising Stars" in 2008 and was included in the Milwaukee Business Journal's "40 Under 40" list, also in 2008.
He ran for election to the Wisconsin State Senate in 2004 but lost to the Democratic incumbent, Robert Wirch. In 2007, following a successful campaign, he was elected chairman of the Wisconsin Republican Party. He was the youngest person to have held that role. Two years later, in 2009, he also became the general counsel for the Republican National Committee.
As chairman of the Wisconsin Republican Party, Priebus led the party to success in the November 2010 elections in Wisconsin, previously a Democratic Party held state. The party won control of the State Senate and Assembly, and a Republican candidate was elected Governor. In particular, his work to bring Wisconsin's Tea Party movement together with the mainstream Republican party organization, and avoid conflict between the two, was credited by commentators as contributing to the party's success. Following the success of the 2010 elections, Priebus, together with Paul Ryan and Scott Walker, became known as part of a rising Republican movement in Wisconsin that was influential on the national level and focused on conservative ideologies, particularly fiscal conservatism.
On Sunday December 5, 2010, Priebus stepped down as general counsel for the Republican National Committee (RNC). The next day he sent a letter to all 168 voting members of the RNC announcing his candidacy for chairman. Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker supported Priebus' bid from the beginning, attributing the party's victories in Wisconsin to "Priebus' leadership and involvement in the grassroots Tea Party movement that swept the state and the nation". Priebus told delegates in his letter: "I will keep expenses low. I will put in strong and serious controls. We will raise the necessary funds to make sure we are successful. We will work to regain the confidence of our donor base and I will personally call our major donors to ask them to rejoin our efforts at the RNC."
On January 14, 2011, after seven rounds of voting, Priebus was elected chairman of the Republican National Committee.
|Candidate||Round 1||Round 2||Round 3||Round 4||Round 5||Round 6||Round 7|
As chairman of the RNC, Priebus inherited a $23 million debt from his predecessor Michael Steele, as well as severely strained relationships with "major donors". By the end of 2011, however, Priebus had raised more than $50 million and cut the RNC's debt to $11.8 million. Former RNC chairman Ed Gillespie described his work in glowing terms: "He's completely restored faith at the RNC amongst donors and activists, he's been on message and he has done a great job raising money, which is the principal role of the RNC chairman."
During the 2012 State of the Union Address and Presidential primary of 2012, Priebus and his RNC team were credited with keeping the focus on President Barack Obama. Despite such focus, President Obama won re-election by soundly defeating his Republican opponent, Mitt Romney, by an electoral college voting margin of 332 to 206 (while the popular vote margin was four percent). Priebus has been actively engaged in pointing out what he considers errors and shortcomings in the work of President Obama and Democratic leaders. In 2012 Priebus appeared on such political talk shows as Meet the Press, Face the Nation, Fox News Sunday, and State of the Union with Candy Crowley.
After Republican losses in 2012, Priebus ordered broad reviews of RNC operations. Of particular concern was voter outreach, including the party's failed messaging to young people, women, and Hispanics. 2012 Republican Presidential nominee Mitt Romney lost each of these groups to President Obama. The analysis of the election cycle will include gathering feedback from numerous volunteers and staffers who were involved at various levels.
On January 25, 2013, the election for the chairmanship of the Republican National Committee took place in Charlotte, North Carolina during the committee's winter meeting. Priebus was elected to serve another term. Priebus was being challenged for the nomination by Maine's National Committeeman Mark Willis.
On January 16, 2015, the election for the chairmanship of the Republican National Committee took place in San Diego, California. Priebus was reelected to a third term on a near-unanimous vote, making him the first Chairman to lead the RNC for three consecutive terms with a Democrat in the White House. Priebus had been praised for his fundraising skills and healing relations with major GOP donors, his ability to maintain "generally warm acceptance" by conservatives and moderates alike, among other accomplishments.
Mr. Priebus, a plain-spoken Greek Orthodox lawyer from Wisconsin, will join
|Party political offices|
|Chairperson of the Republican National Committee