CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Reince Priebus won election as Republican National Committee chairman for a second two-year term Friday afternoon.
Despite opposition from a small coterie of Ron Paul members on the 168-member national committee, the former Wisconsin GOP state chairman won the support of the full committee by a nearly unanimous vote, with several of those originally opposed to him switching sides in the end.
The man who tried to run against him, Maine RNC member Mark Willis, and a fellow Maine committeewoman were the only two RNC members to stand up to signal "no" votes.
Mr. Willis, who had hoped to mount a challenge to Mr. Priebus, failed to get the requisite backing from three states to get on the ballot.
RNC members expressed appreciation for Mr. Priebus' fundraising ability and ethical standards. They credited him with turning around a bankrupt GOP national office that he inherited forum his predecessor Michael Steele, and restoring the trust of major donors who had largely largely kept their check books in their pockets until Mr. Priebus ousted Mr. Steele two years ago.
Mr. Priebus won reelection despite the party's disappointing showing in November, with the loss of presidential candidate Mitt Romney, the failure to pick up seats in the Senate and a widespread feeling that the Democrats' ground game and logistical systems outperformed the GOP on Nov. 6.
Expanding the party's base beyond the 47 percent total won by Mr. Romney and making inroads into voting blocs dominated by President Obama have been a top focus of concern at the annual winter meeting of the RNC being held here this week.
"We must be party of concern about Americans in every neighborhood," Mr. Priebus said after the vote.
Pledging to have the GOP engage Hispanics, Asians, blacks and other groups more personally — at social events, in their homes — than in the past, Mr. Priebus said, "We have to go places we haven't been."
Florida RNC member Sharon Day was reelected RNC co-chairwoman and Tony Parker was reelected as party treasurer. Illinois RNC member Demetra DeMonte won another term as RNC secretary.
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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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