Facing persistent questions about financial mismanagement and dismal fundraising numbers during the 2010 election cycle, Republican National Committee Chair Michael Steele’s run for a second term just got more complicated. A close ally and lead counsel for the RNC, Reince Preibus, recently joined the fray against Steele, announcing his bid for the coveted spot while resigning from his official post. Preibus is also the chair for the Wisconsin State GOP, which saw record victories in the state, including the ouster of high profile Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI).
Tricia Miller reports in Roll Call: “The RNC must be at its best during this next election cycle,” [Preibus] wrote. “There is too much at risk for our Party and, more importantly, for our country. That is why I am running for Chairman.”
Priebus is the third candidate to formally announce a bid for chairman of the RNC. Former Michigan GOP Chairman Saul Anuzis and former Missouri Republican Party Chairwoman Ann Wagner are already in the race. All three have touted Republican success in their home states in their bids to lead the national organization, and all three have experience leading Republican parties in Midwestern swing states.
In Wisconsin, Republicans had a monumental 2010 election cycle. Republican Scott Walker won the open governor’s race, newcomer Ron Johnson defeated longtime Sen. Russ Feingold (D), two House seats flipped from Democrats to Republicans, and both chambers of the state legislature shifted from Democratic control to Republican control.
Preibus’ announcement comes in the wake of new disclosures surrounding Steele’s management of RNC funds and rising discontent amongst Committee officials who are concerned by the near $700,000 price tag spent already on the GOP’s 2012 convention in Tampa.
Jonathan Strong writes in The Daily Caller:
Besides the obvious reasons for opposing extravagant spending and rampant cronyism, key Republican operatives also fear that the current spending spree by Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele’s former personal assistant, Belinda Cook, could debilitate the party’s nominating convention.
The reason is the spending, much of which is for eyebrow-raising salaries and rent on a waterfront mansion, will come out of a limited pot of federal funds that are crucial for running the convention.
Cook is using the federal funds for activities that could be funded by corporate “soft” money, like rent on the waterfront mansion.