||The neutrality of this article is disputed. (July 2012)|
|65th Chairman of the Republican National Committee|
January 20, 2011
|Preceded by||Michael Steele|
|Born||Reinhold Reince Priebus
March 18, 1972
Dover, New Jersey, U.S.
|Spouse(s)||Sally Priebus; 2 children|
|Alma mater||University of Wisconsin–Whitewater
University of Miami School of Law
Reinhold Reince 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 who works in real estate. Some sources identify his parents as Roula and Dimitra, while others have used "Richard and Dimitra" for their names. 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. He graduated cum laude in 1994 and prior to that had been elected to serve as student body president.
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. In 1998, he graduated with a J.D. degree cum laude from the University of Miami after serving as president of the Student Bar Association. He moved back to Wisconsin and became a member of the State Bar, and subsequently joined Michael Best & Friedrich LLP, a Wisconsin law firm, where he eventually became a partner, practicing in the firm's government and public policy division. He ran for election to the Wisconsin State Senate in 2004 but lost to the Democratic incumbent, Robert Wirch.
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; incumbent chairman Michael Steele, the party's first African-American chairman, had bowed out of the race after trailing in the early rounds of voting. In his remarks, Priebus praised the outgoing chairman, for whom he had served as general counsel, saying: "I want to thank Chairman Steele for his leadership over the past two years. Thank you."
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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 Latinos. 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.
|Party political offices|
|Chairman of the Republican National Committee
January 20, 2011 – present