Reince Priebus

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Reince Priebus
Reince Priebus by Gage Skidmore.jpg
Priebus orating in June 2011
65th Chairman of the Republican National Committee
Assumed office
January 20, 2011
Preceded by Michael Steele
Personal details
Born Reinhold Richard Priebus
(1972-03-18) March 18, 1972 (age 42)
Dover, New Jersey, U.S.[1]
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Sally Priebus; 2 children
Alma mater University of Wisconsin, Whitewater
Occupation Lawyer
Religion Greek Orthodox

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

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


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.[5] He ran for election to the Wisconsin State Senate in 2004 but lost to the Democratic incumbent, Robert Wirch.[14]

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".[15] 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."[16]

Priebus in May 2010

On January 14, 2011, after seven rounds of voting, Priebus was elected chairman of the Republican National Committee.[17]

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

Term as chairman[edit]

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

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.[18] 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."[18]

During the 2012 State of the Union Address[19] and Presidential primary of 2012, Priebus and his RNC team were credited with keeping the focus on President Barack Obama.[20] 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.[21] 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.[22][23]

2012 Presidential election[edit]

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.[24] The analysis of the election cycle will include gathering feedback from numerous volunteers and staffers who were involved at various levels.[25][26]

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.[27] Priebus was being challenged for the nomination by Maine's National Committeeman Mark Willis.[28][29][30]


  1. ^ a b 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.”"
  2. ^ a b "Reince Priebus". 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. ^ 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. 
  5. ^ a b c "10 Things You Didn't Know About Reince Priebus". U.S. News. Retrieved October 6, 2012. 
  6. ^ "2011 Assembly Joint Resolution 5" (PDF). State of Wisconsin. January 25, 2011. Retrieved January 22, 2013. 
  7. ^ "Reince Priebus from Tremper High School to the National Stage". Kenosha News. 
  8. ^ "New RNC Chairman Elected". Orthodox Observer. February–March 2011. p. 21. Retrieved January 25, 2013. 
  9. ^ Zeleny, Jeff (15 January 2011). "G.O.P. Leader’s Promise: Humility and Hard Work". The New York Times. Retrieved 29 August 2012. 
  10. ^ "Reince Priebus". the Business Journal. Retrieved February 22, 2008. 
  11. ^ Otto, Aaron (Spring 2012). "Reince Priebus Leads the Republican National Committee" (PDF). Delta Chi. p. 4. Retrieved October 6, 2012. 
  12. ^ "Reince Priebus". Washington Post. July 23, 2012. Retrieved October 6, 2013. 
  13. ^ Featherly, Kevin (December 2009). "Barristers of the Ballot Box". Super Lawyers magazine. Retrieved October 13, 2014. 
  14. ^ Simmons, Dan (August 26, 2012). "Reince Priebus' star keeps rising". Wisconsin State Journal. Retrieved August 17, 2013. 
  15. ^ "Wisconsin GOP head Priebus announces bid for RNC Chair". The Badger Herald. Retrieved December 7, 2010. 
  16. ^ "Wisconsin GOP Chair Reince Priebus Enters Race For RNC Chairman". ABC News. Retrieved December 6, 2010. 
  17. ^ "Reince Priebus elected RNC chairman; Michael Steele ends bid". Politico. Retrieved January 20, 2011. 
  18. ^ a b "Chairman Priebus leads RNC revival: From $23M in the red to $7M in the black". The Hill. Retrieved February 16, 2012. 
  19. ^ "RNC ad takes on president over State of the Union". CNN. January 24, 2012. Retrieved January 24, 2012. 
  20. ^ Rogers, Ed (January 25, 2012). "RNC is keeping the focus where it belongs". The Washington Post. Retrieved January 25, 2012. 
  21. ^ "Busted! RNC catches Obama recycling rhetoric from past State of the Union speeches". Bill O'Reilly. Retrieved January 25, 2012. 
  22. ^ "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. 
  23. ^ "Face in the News: David Axelrod, Reince Priebus". Face the Nation. Retrieved June 4, 2012. 
  24. ^ "Obama takes key battlegrounds to win re-election". CNN. November 7, 2012. Retrieved December 2, 2012. 
  25. ^ Wallsten, Peter (November 8, 2012). "Republican Party begins election review to find out what went wrong". The Washington Post. Retrieved December 2, 2012. 
  26. ^ "GOP boss Priebus expected to stay". The Examiner. November 12, 2012. Retrieved December 2, 2012. 
  27. ^ "RNC to host winter meeting in Charlotte in January". The Hill. Retrieved November 28, 2012. 
  28. ^ "Mark Willis: Ready to rebrand the Republican Party". The Washington Times. Retrieved January 20, 2013. 
  29. ^ Linkins, Jason (January 16, 2013). "Mark Willis, Reince Priebus Challenger, Jumps Into RNC Race". Huffington Post. Retrieved January 16, 2013. 
  30. ^ "Disenfranchised Maine Delegate Running for RNC Chairman". The New American. Retrieved January 17, 2013. 

External links[edit]

Party political offices
Preceded by
Michael Steele
Chairman of the Republican National Committee
January 20, 2011 – present
Succeeded by