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Priebus will announce bid to seek re-election as RNC leader
LAS VEGAS — Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus, under fire from some quarters for the failure of the party's voter-turnout effort on Nov. 6, will inform the RNC's other 167 members on Friday that he will seek re-election in January, two sources close to the chairman said Thursday.
According to the sources, speaking on the condition of anonymity, Mr. Priebus will say Friday during his announcement that 112 fellow RNC members have pledged to support him if he seeks a second two-year term, a number far greater than the needed 85 votes.
As of Thursday evening, The Washington Times had received 51 definite "yes" and four "maybe" replies from RNC members asked if they would vote for him.
An RNC spokesman declined to comment. Mr. Priebus is scheduled to begin an extended vacation on Friday.
Mr. Priebus earned accolades from Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and others here for the Republican Governors Association meeting.
Mr. Jindal, the RGA chairman, was asked in an interview whether the Nov. 6 voter-turnout failures in crucial swing states were the fault of the RNC chairman or of Mitt Romney's campaign and whether he supports Mr. Priebus or someone else for the chairmanship of the party's national governing body.
"I'm not a voting member of the RNC, but I think Reince has done a great job at the RNC," Mr. Jindal told The Times. "I don't think this is one of those things where you point to just one person and say they're the reason."
Some Republicans gathered here for the RGA annual meeting were critical of decisions they said were Mr. Priebus' and not the Romney campaign's, including sending an operative from Mr. Priebus' home state of Wisconsin to replace the turnout director of another state.
The replaced director had enjoyed a successful record in previous elections; the Priebus-appointed replacement failed to follow the old winning program and the state was lost to President Obama.
But generally, Mr. Priebus was exonerated for the failures in the Republican ground game that had been touted as all but guaranteeing the election of the former Massachusetts governor over Mr. Obama in a close race.
Mr. Romney's campaign pre-empted the RNC's "get out the vote" efforts, hiring consultants whose voter-identification computer programs failed dismally on Nov. 6, volunteers in many states complained.
Most here agreed Mr. Priebus' principal job as chairman was to raise money and he did just that, earning partywide praise for resurrecting the RNC from the financial disasters that had befallen it under the previous chairman, Michael S. Steele.
© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Chief political writer Ralph Z. Hallow served on the Chicago Tribune, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Washington Times editorial boards, was Ford Foundation Fellow in Urban Journalism at Northwestern University, resident at Columbia University Editorial-Page Editors Seminar and has filed from Berlin, Bonn, London, Paris, Geneva, Vienna, Amman, Beirut, Cairo, Damascus, Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Belgrade, Bucharest, Panama and Guatemala.
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