The new national Republican Party chairman says his party has to “get on track” to “defeat Barack Obama in 2012.” In a brief victory speech today, Reince Priebus asked for unity within the fractured 168-member Republican National Committee.
Reince Priebus was born (March 18, 1972) to parents of Greek and German descent and raised in Kenosha, Wisconsin. At age 16, he began volunteering for political campaigns. He 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.
Priebus was elected as Chairman of the Republican National Committee on January 14, 2011. He was elected on the seventh ballot, following Ann Wagner’s withdrawal from the race, Priebus received the votes of 97 of the 168 committee members.