Reince Priebus used to be RNC Chairman Michael Steele’s closest ally. Now, Priebus is trying to take his former boss’s job.
Described by someone who knows him as, “likeable enough but a little socially awkward,” Priebus tendered his resignation as top legal counsel for the RNC on Sunday, December 5. The following day he announced his decision to run for the chairmanship, writing in a letter to committee members, “There is too much at risk for our party and, more importantly, for our country. That is why I am running for Chairman.”
According to reports, Priebus’ main duties under Steele consisted of putting out the fires that Steele started: soliciting letters of support when support was thin, running interference with donors, and perhaps most importantly, sticking with Steele when some committee members were actively considering calling for his resignation.
Priebus’ decision to challenge Steele came as a shock to many inside the RNC. In the weeks since his announcement, Priebus has mounted a serious campaign, emerging as one of the top challengers.
Priebus has been described by supporters as a “staunch conservative,” and judging from his public comments that appears to be accurate. “Real damage is being done by President Obama and the Democrats in power,” Priebus said in a video announcing his candidacy. “If they win another term, the damage could be irreversible.”