Reince Priebus

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Reince Priebus
Reince Priebus by Gage Skidmore.jpg
Chairman of the Republican National Committee
Incumbent
Assumed office
January 20, 2011
Preceded by Michael Steele
Personal details
Born Reinhold Richard Priebus
(1972-03-18) March 18, 1972 (age 43)
Dover, New Jersey, U.S.
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Sally Priebus
Children 2
Alma mater University of Wisconsin, Whitewater
University of Miami
Religion Greek Orthodoxy[1]

Reinhold Richard "Reince" Priebus[2] (Listeni/ˌrns ˈprbəs/ RYNS PREE-bəs;[3] born March 18, 1972) is the chairman of the Republican National Committee and the former chairman of the Wisconsin Republican Party.

Early life and education[edit]

Priebus was born in Dover, New Jersey, and grew up in Netcong, New Jersey, until his family moved to Wisconsin when he was seven.[4] His father is a former union electrician and his mother a real estate agent. Some sources identify his parents as Roula and Dimitra,[5][6] while others, including his GOP bio, specify "Richard and Dimitra", with "Roula" as a nickname for his mother.[7][8][9][2] Priebus is of German and Greek descent.[10] At 16, he volunteered for several political campaigns in high school.[11] After graduating from high school, he attended the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, where he majored in English and political science,[6] and joined the Delta Chi fraternity.[12] Priebus graduated cum laude in 1994 and prior to that had been elected to serve as student body president[13] and was president of the College Republicans.[14]

Career[edit]

After graduation from Whitewater, Priebus served as a clerk for the Wisconsin State Assembly Education Committee.[6] He then enrolled at the University of Miami School of Law in Coral Gables, Florida.[6] 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,[7] and also interned at the NAACP Legal Defense Fund in California.[15]

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.[11] He moved back to Wisconsin and became a member of the State Bar.[6] Subsequently, he joined Wisconsin law firm Michael Best & Friedrich LLP, where he became a partner in 2006,[6][8] practicing in the firm's litigation and corporate practice groups.[16] While working at Michael Best & Friedrich, he was named as one of Wisconsin Super Lawyers magazine's "Rising Stars" in 2008[8] and was included in the Milwaukee Business Journal's "40 Under 40" list, also in 2008.[11][16]

He ran for election to the Wisconsin State Senate in 2004 but lost to the Democratic incumbent, Robert Wirch.[17] In 2007, following a successful campaign, he was elected chairman of the Wisconsin Republican Party.[7] He was the youngest person to have held that role.[18] Two years later, in 2009, he also became the general counsel for the Republican National Committee.[19][7]

As chairman of the Wisconsin Republican Party, Priebus led the party to success in the November 2010 elections in Wisconsin, which was previously a state held by the Democratic Party.[20] The party won control of the State Senate and Assembly, and a Republican candidate was elected Governor.[20][21] 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.[20][22] 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.[23][22][24]

Preibus continued as Wisconsin party chairman and general counsel to the RNC to late 2010,[21] when he stepped down as general counsel to run for election to chairman of the committee.[19]

RNC chairman[edit]

2011 election[edit]

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".[25] 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."[26]

Priebus in May 2010

On January 14, 2011, after seven rounds of voting, Priebus was elected chairman of the Republican National Committee.[27]

Candidate Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Round 4 Round 5 Round 6 Round 7
Reince Priebus 45 52 54 58 67 80 97
Saul Anuzis 24 22 21 24 32 37 43
Maria Cino 32 30 28 29 40 34 28
Ann Wagner 23 27 32 28 28 17 Withdrew
Michael Steele 44 37 33 28 Withdrew
     Candidate won majority of votes in the round
     Candidate secured a plurality of votes in the round
     Candidate withdrew

First term[edit]

Priebus at the Western Republican Leadership Conference in October 2011 in Las Vegas

At the start of his first term as chairman of the RNC in January 2011, Priebus had inherited a $23 million debt from his predecessor Michael Steele, as well as severely strained relationships with "major donors".[28][29] Priebus stated that his goals for his leadership were to reduce the debt, rebuild the organization's finances and improve relationships with major donors and party leaders, as well as aiding Republican efforts in the 2012 presidential elections.[22][24] In particular, he aimed to develop a strong voter mobilization program, including improved voter registration and absentee ballot programs to identify unregistered voters and those who had not returned their ballots, using funds raised through his initial outreach to major donors.[29]

By the end of 2011, Priebus had raised more than $88 million[30] and cut the RNC's debt to $11.8 million.[28] 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."[28] According to Priebus, at the end of his first year in the role, there were 1,000 donors of $30,000 or more annually.[31] Also, after his first year, Priebus received praise from Republican Congress members for the increased communication from him and his team, compared with the previous chair.[28]

During the 2012 State of the Union Address[32] and Presidential primary of 2012, Priebus and his RNC team were credited with keeping the focus on President Barack Obama.[33] 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 was actively engaged in pointing out what he considered errors and shortcomings in the work of President Obama and Democratic leaders.[34] 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.[35][36] Also in 2012, he continued to focus on rebuilding the RNC's finances by reaching out to donors, and at the end of the year the organization reported no debt.[31]

After the 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.[37] The analysis of the election cycle would include gathering feedback from numerous volunteers and staffers who were involved at various levels.[38][39] He began development of a political plan including a long-term strategy to reach demographic groups that had voted mainly Democratic in the November 2012 elections. The plan was labeled "The Growth and Opportunity Project".[31]

2013 election of chairman[edit]

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.[40] Priebus was being challenged for the nomination by Maine's National Committeeman Mark Willis.[41][42][43]

Second term[edit]

For Priebus' second term he set the goal of "transforming the party – to be a force from coast to coast.”[44] In his re-election speech he stated that the party would no longer approach electoral politics from a "red and blue state" perspective.[44]

On March 18, 2013, Priebus presented the completed Growth and Opportunity Project report developed from a listening tour and four-month analysis[45] carried out by Priebus and Republican strategists including Henry Barbour, Sally Bradshaw, Ari Fleischer, Zori Fonalledas and Glenn McCall.[31] The report outlined a comprehensive plan for the party to overhaul its operations.[45] Specific plans outlined in the report included: improving the GOP's digital and research capabilities; a $10 million outreach effort to minority communities; supporting immigration reform; and reducing the length of the presidential primary season.[45]

In September 2013, Priebus was successful in persuading both CNN and NBC to cancel planned biopics of Hillary Clinton, which had been criticized as "free campaigning on Clinton's behalf", according to columnist Jennifer Rubin. Priebus stated that the networks would not be allowed to moderate a Republican primary debate if the films went ahead.[46]

The following year, Politico reported that Priebus had made progress with efforts to make the RNC a year-round operation, particularly through investment into digital technology and field staff.[47] In a March 2014 CNN op-ed, Priebus said that the RNC had established a data management and predictive analytics initiative called Para Bellum Labs, with an office in Silicon Valley.[48] Continuing Priebus' aim to create an initiative to rival the voter mobilization efforts of the 2012 Obama campaign, in May 2014, the RNC launched the Victory 365 program.[49] The program focuses on communicating with and encouraging the efforts of volunteers across the U.S. to reach others in their communities.[49][50] Priebus also worked to reduce the length of the presidential primary calendar, generating support for a RNC rules change to make the primary calendar shorter by up to three months and bringing the national convention forward to late June at the earliest. The rules change was passed almost unanimously in January 2014.[47][51]

Also following Growth and Opportunity Project report, Priebus led efforts to reach out to black, Latino and Asian American voters. In July 2014, he spoke at the National Association of Black Journalists convention, where he said that to support these efforts the GOP was spending approximately $8.5 million per month and had established offices in 15 states.[52]

In a speech on October 2, 2014, Priebus laid out the RNC's "Principles for American Renewal", covering 11 goals of the Republican party in the lead up to the 2016 presidential election.[53] The principles include three economy-related proposals for the Senate to move forward: approval of construction on the Keystone XL Pipeline; federal healthcare law reform; and a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. constitution. Other goals included in the principles include job creation, care of veterans, immigration and government spending.[54] Following the speech, the Democratic National Committee issued a statement criticizing Priebus, arguing that Republicans are "out of step with the American public".[53]

2015 election of chairman[edit]

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.[55][56][57] 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.[55]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Hallow, Ralph Z. (January 5, 2014). "Republicans set to deliver big statement on abortion". Washington Times. Retrieved January 17, 2015. Mr. Priebus, a plain-spoken Greek Orthodox lawyer from Wisconsin, will join 
  2. ^ a b "Reince Priebus". GOP.com. Republican National Committee. Retrieved December 1, 2014. 
  3. ^ Schouten, Fredreka (January 21, 2011). "Reince Priebus: Fundraising top job as RNC chairman". USA Today. Retrieved September 12, 2012. 
  4. ^ Schoonejongen, John. "RNC Chairman Priebus touts his Jersey cred", Asbury Park Press Capitol Quickies, August 30, 2012. Accessed December 27, 2012. "“I have something in common I think a little bit with you all, I was born in New Jersey,” Reince Priebus told New Jersey Republicans at their delegation breakfast. “I was born in Dover, and some of my favorite childhood memories ... we moved when I was seven to Wisconsin, but I still remember very fondly, and I think about it, was growing up in Netcong. That’s where I grew up.”"
  5. ^ Gilbert, Craig (February 15, 2009). "GOP makeover gets fresh Wisconsin face State's party chairman working with new RNC chief". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Retrieved August 29, 2012. 
  6. ^ a b c d e f "10 Things You Didn't Know About Reince Priebus". U.S. News. Retrieved October 6, 2012. 
  7. ^ a b c d "2011 Assembly Joint Resolution 5" (PDF). State of Wisconsin. January 25, 2011. Retrieved January 22, 2013. 
  8. ^ a b c "Reince Priebus from Tremper High School to the National Stage". Kenosha News. 
  9. ^ "New RNC Chairman Elected". Orthodox Observer. February–March 2011. p. 21. Retrieved January 25, 2013. 
  10. ^ Zeleny, Jeff (15 January 2011). "G.O.P. Leader’s Promise: Humility and Hard Work". The New York Times. Retrieved 29 August 2012. 
  11. ^ a b c "Reince Priebus" (PDF). the Business Journal. Retrieved February 22, 2008. 
  12. ^ Otto, Aaron (Spring 2012). "Reince Priebus Leads the Republican National Committee" (PDF). Delta Chi. p. 4. Retrieved October 6, 2012. 
  13. ^ "Reince Priebus". Washington Post. July 23, 2012. Retrieved October 6, 2013. 
  14. ^ Featherly, Kevin (December 2009). "Barristers of the Ballot Box". Super Lawyers magazine. Retrieved October 13, 2014. 
  15. ^ Jon Ward (August 22, 2012). "Reince Priebus, RNC Chairman: 'I've Watched My Mouth'". Huffington Post. Retrieved September 18, 2014. 
  16. ^ a b "Reince R. Priebus". MichaelBest.com. Michael Best & Friedrich LLP. 2014. Retrieved October 15, 2014. 
  17. ^ Simmons, Dan (August 26, 2012). "Reince Priebus' star keeps rising". Wisconsin State Journal. Retrieved August 17, 2013. 
  18. ^ Reid Wilson (August 26, 2012). "Reince Priebus’s Coming-Out Party". The National Journal. Retrieved September 18, 2014. 
  19. ^ a b Michael Falcone (December 6, 2010). "Wisconsin GOP Chair Reince Priebus Enters Race For RNC Chairman". The Note. ABC News. Retrieved September 18, 2014. 
  20. ^ a b c Don Gonyea (January 15, 2011). "Meet Reince Priebus, The New RNC Chairman". NPR. Retrieved September 16, 2014. 
  21. ^ a b John Avlon (June 3, 2012). "The Wisconsinites Running the RNC Double Down on Walker Recall Fight". The Daily Beast. Retrieved September 18, 2014. 
  22. ^ a b c Dan Balz (5 February 2011). "A young Wisconsin trio could shape the direction of the GOP". Washington Post. Retrieved 11 September 2014. 
  23. ^ Molly Ball (August 29, 2012). "The Cheesehead Mafia: Paul Ryan and the Rise of Wisconsin Republicans". The Atlantic. Retrieved September 18, 2014. 
  24. ^ a b Kasie Hunt (February 27, 2011). "GOP bets future on Wisconsin". Politico. Retrieved September 18, 2014. 
  25. ^ "Wisconsin GOP head Priebus announces bid for RNC Chair". The Badger Herald. Retrieved December 7, 2010. 
  26. ^ "Wisconsin GOP Chair Reince Priebus Enters Race For RNC Chairman". ABC News. Retrieved December 6, 2010. 
  27. ^ "Reince Priebus elected RNC chairman; Michael Steele ends bid". Politico. Retrieved January 20, 2011. 
  28. ^ a b c d "Chairman Priebus leads RNC revival: From $23M in the red to $7M in the black". The Hill. Retrieved February 16, 2012. 
  29. ^ a b Dan Balz (April 16, 2011). "New chairman Reince Priebus cleans up RNC after Michael Steele’s tumultuous tenure". The Washington Post. Retrieved September 18, 2014. 
  30. ^ "FEC form 3X REPORT OF RECEIPTS AND DISBURSEMENTS". FEC.gov. Federal Election Commission. July 5, 2012. Retrieved October 15, 2014. 
  31. ^ a b c d Mark Preston (January 24, 2013). "GOP chief plans major overhaul to party". CNN. Retrieved September 18, 2014. 
  32. ^ "RNC ad takes on president over State of the Union". CNN. January 24, 2012. Retrieved January 24, 2012. 
  33. ^ Rogers, Ed (January 25, 2012). "RNC is keeping the focus where it belongs". The Washington Post. Retrieved January 25, 2012. 
  34. ^ "Busted! RNC catches Obama recycling rhetoric from past State of the Union speeches". Bill O'Reilly. Retrieved January 25, 2012. 
  35. ^ "May 13: Reince Priebus, Martin O'Malley, Gavin Newsom, Al Cardenas, Kathleen Parker, Jonathan Capehart, Chris Matthews, Jamie Dimon". Meet the Press. Retrieved May 13, 2012. 
  36. ^ "Face in the News: David Axelrod, Reince Priebus". Face the Nation. Retrieved June 4, 2012. 
  37. ^ "Obama takes key battlegrounds to win re-election". CNN. November 7, 2012. Retrieved December 2, 2012. 
  38. ^ Wallsten, Peter (November 8, 2012). "Republican Party begins election review to find out what went wrong". The Washington Post. Retrieved December 2, 2012. 
  39. ^ "GOP boss Priebus expected to stay". The Examiner. November 12, 2012. Retrieved December 2, 2012. 
  40. ^ "RNC to host winter meeting in Charlotte in January". The Hill. Retrieved November 28, 2012. 
  41. ^ "Mark Willis: Ready to rebrand the Republican Party". The Washington Times. Retrieved January 20, 2013. 
  42. ^ Linkins, Jason (January 16, 2013). "Mark Willis, Reince Priebus Challenger, Jumps Into RNC Race". Huffington Post. Retrieved January 16, 2013. 
  43. ^ "Disenfranchised Maine Delegate Running for RNC Chairman". The New American. Retrieved January 17, 2013. 
  44. ^ a b Michael Falcone (January 25, 2013). "RNC Chair Reince Priebus Wins Re-Election, And Offers Some Tough Love For GOP". The Note. ABC News. Retrieved September 18, 2014. 
  45. ^ a b c Aaron Blake; Philip Rucker (March 18, 2013). "Struggling Republican Party announces plan to rebuild itself". The Washington Post. Retrieved September 18, 2014. 
  46. ^ Jennifer Rubin (October 1, 2013). "A win for Priebus, a boost for the GOP". Right Turn blog. The Washington Post. Retrieved September 18, 2014. 
  47. ^ a b James Hohmann (March 16, 2014). "Reince Priebus sees GOP progress post-‘autopsy’". Politico. Retrieved October 15, 2014. 
  48. ^ Sandy Fitzgerald (March 18, 2014). "Priebus: RNC Using Tech Tools, Ad Campaigns in Quest to Grow Party". Newsmax. Retrieved October 15, 2014. 
  49. ^ a b Nick Sanchez (August 15, 2014). "Obama Appeals for 'Data Driven' Voter Mobilization". Newsmax. Retrieved October 15, 2014. 
  50. ^ John Lyon (August 19, 2014). "RNC chairman: Arkansas ‘ground zero’ in battle for control of Senate". Arkansas News. Retrieved October 15, 2014. 
  51. ^ Aaron Blake (January 24, 2014). "RNC moves to shrink 2016 primary calendar". The Washington Post. Retrieved October 15, 2014. 
  52. ^ Trymaine Lee (July 31, 2014). "Reince Priebus: GOP gains among minorities won’t happen overnight". MSNBC. Retrieved September 18, 2014. 
  53. ^ a b Jonathan Topaz (October 2, 2014). "Reince Priebus: GOP can’t be cash ‘U-Haul’". Retrieved October 14, 2014. 
  54. ^ John O'Connor (October 2, 2014). "RNC's Priebus Lays Out GOP 'Principles' Ahead of Midterms". NBC News. Retrieved October 16, 2014. 
  55. ^ a b Hallow, Ralph Z. (January 13, 2015) – "Reince Priebus Set to Win Historic 3rd Consecutive Term as RNC Chair Under Democratic President". The Washington Times. Retrieved January 25, 2015.
  56. ^ Cheney, Kyle (January 16, 2015) – "RNC’s Priebus Looks at 2016 as ‘Do or Die’". POLITICO. Retrieved January 18, 2015.
  57. ^ Miller, Zeke J. (January 16, 2015) – "Republicans Re-Elect Party Chair for ‘Do or Die’ 2016 Campaign". TIME. Retrieved January 18, 2015.

External links[edit]

Party political offices
Preceded by
Michael Steele
Chairperson of the Republican National Committee
2011–present
Incumbent