After seven rounds of voting, the Republican National Committee has elected Wisconsin State Party Chair Reince Priebus to be its new Chairman. Approximately 168 committee members were on site at the Gaylord National Resort in the Maryland-D.C. area on the National Harbor for the Winter Meeting.
Previous Chair Michael Steele was at times a controversial leader who often drew fire from his own party and others. One RNC member, Ada Fisher, said she thought Steele “makes us frankly appear to many blacks as foolish” and wanted him to resign. Tom Fetzer, Chair of North Carolina’s State Republican Party, also called on him to resign, citing lavish spending. Steele was also reported to have used his position as RNC to profit personally, charging fees for speeches, etc. In 2009, The Washington Post reported that Steele was using his position to profit personally, and Bill Kristol, commentator for FOX and founder of the The Weekly Standard, called on Steele to resign in 2010 for remarks he made regarding the land war in Afghanistan.
Steele received 44 votes in the first round of voting today and dropped out of the race after the fourth round in which he only received 28 votes. At that time, he asked members to support Maria Cino:
“It’s very clear the party wants to do something a little bit different and hopefully a little bit better…This is tough because – it is what it is. But what is important, and I hope you do not forget as this process unfolds, is that unification, moving forward building, growing, winning, our target, our ground game, our opportunity rests out with the people of America. So I really thank you for the chairmanship of this party for the two years that I have had it, and at this time I will step aside for other others to lead. But in so doing, I hope you all appreciate the legacy we leave, despite the noise – Lord knows we’ve had a lot of noise, haven’t we, Jan [Larimer]? – despite the difficulties, we won.. At this time I release my supporters, and I ask them to stand with me in supporting Maria Cino as next chairman of this party…All the while, it’s up to all of you to decide…I thank you for the opportunity to serve and to lead.”
Ann Wagner, Former RNC Co-chair and Former Missouri Republican Party Chair, conceded after the sixth round:
“I thank all you members of the RNC for meeting with me and taking my stalker phone calls over the holidays … The RNC matters to me. It matters to all of us… It’s time this Committee heal and unify. I release my supporters, because I respect this process, to do what they feel they should do in their heart…I thank you one and all.”
Following are the vote counts after the last rounds of voting (85 votes needed to win):
Reince Preibus – 58
Maria Cino – 29
Michael Steele – 28
Ann Wagner – 28
Saul Anuzis – 24
Reince Preibus – 67
Maria Cino – 40
Saul Anuzis – 32
Ann Wagner – 28
Reince Preibus – 80
Saul Anuzis – 37
Maria Cino – 34
Ann Wagner – 17
Reince Preibus – 97
Saul Anuzis – 43
Maria Cino – 28
It was moved by Kevin Dewine and seconded by Ed Cox that Reince Priebus be named Chair of the RNC by unanimous selection. The motion carried.