After seven rounds of voting on January 14, Republican National Committee members chose Reince Priebus, former Wisconsin GOP chairman, as their new chairman. Outgoing RNC Chair Michael Steele, whose term was marked by numerous gaffes and accusations of financial mismanagement, bowed out of contention after placing second in the first three rounds of voting. “We can defeat Obama in 2012,” Priebus said upon being elected. “We must come together for the betterment of our country and our party.”
Priebus has installed former RNC Chairman Ed Gillespie and former Republican Governors Association Executive Director Nick Ayers to lead his transition team. In response to allegations of excessive spending in preparation for the 2012 Republican convention in Tampa, Florida, one of Priebus’s first acts was to fire a number of the employees involved in convention planning.
Priebus was formerly a close ally and defender of Steele, who appointed him RNC general counsel. As a result, Priebus’s candidacy for RNC chair seems to have particularly rankled the outgoing chair. In an interview with FrumForum held several days after he lost his re-election bid,Steele cast himself as the victim of treachery. “I know exactly how Caesar felt,” he said.