Priebus went in to the race as a frontrunner and as a favorite of the grassroots. He was also supported by Republican activist, prolific fundraiser and lobyist, Henry Barbour, nephew of Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour.
On the final ballot Priebus garnered 97 votes to Saul Anuzis’s 43 and Maria Cino’s 28.
85 votes are needed to win.
In his acceptance speech, Priebus urged all of the Republican National Committee to come together and promised to work with everyone. “We all recognize that there is a steep still ahead and the only way to face it is to work together” said Priebus
He reminded delegates that each of them are the employees of the Republican voters and that it will be their responsibility to restructure financial operations, hiring top notch staff and beating President Obama in 2012. Priebus also stated that he wanted to shape the GOP into a truly conservative Party that elected conservative candidates.
Some suggest that being supported by the nephew of the influential Mississippi Governor and former RNC Chairman Haley Barbour, this is a signal that Governor Barbour is on track to winning the G.O.P.’s presidential nomination.
But aside from rumors of Haley Barbour’s influence in this election for Chairman, Reince Prebius in his own right came to the position of Wisconsin State Party Chairman in 2007 and by 2010 he took a considerably blue state and helped win a U.S. Senate from Democrat stalwart Russ Feingold, took back the historically Democrat seat of powerful Congressman David Obey as well as other House seats and helped capture the statehouse with Republican Scott Walker.
The election of Reince Preibus marks the beginning of a new page for the Republican National Committee after some of its most historic electoral gains in history. While Mike Steele was energizing force that had a part in those election victories, he did little to insure that the RNC developed a strong and reliable fundraising operation and left the RNC with a large debt. Steele was also criticized for not reinforcing an effective organizational strategy for strengthening the grassroots of the Party.
More About Reince Priebus:
Priebus was born and raised in Kenosha, Wisconsin and graduated from George Nelson Tremper High School in 1990. He obtained a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and English in 1994 from University of Wisconsin–Whitewater (where he was student body president), worked in the Wisconsin Legislature for a year, and then went to law school, receiving a law degree from University of Miami School of Law in 1998. During his time there, he interned for the NAACP legal defense fund in Los Angeles. In 1998, he joined the law firm of Michael Best & Friedrich LLP in Milwaukee.
In 2004, in his first bid for public office, Priebus unsuccessfully challenged incumbent Robert Wirch for a seat in the Wisconsin Senate, where Priebus reportedly spent $384,486 to Wirch’s $182,595.
Priebus was elected state GOP party chair in 2007, the youngest person ever elected to that position. In 2009, he became general counsel of the RNC under chairman Michael Steele.