Reince Priebus is running for a second two-year term as chairman of the Republican National Committee, he announced in a letter to RNC members.
Priebus, who in the letter claimed the backing of 130 committee members, was credited throughout the past election cycle with rehabilitating the RNC's reputation among the major donor set and bringing sound management to an organization that was saddled with debt. The RNC had more than $20 million in debt when he took over in early 2011 and was deemed to have been mismanaged by Priebus' predecessor, Michael Steele. Many Republicans have encouraged him to run for re-election.
But Priebus' leadership has been questioned by some conservative and GOP activists since the Nov. 6 elections, which saw President Barack Obama handily defeat Mitt Romney for re-election and the Republicans lose two Senate seats despite a favorable playing field. Receiving particular focus were the perceived failings of Romney's voter turnout operation, jointly led by the RNC through its Victory program. Priebus touted the GOP ground game in his letter to committee members.
"Through all of our hard work and focus we changed course and got our committee back on sound financial footing, breaking fundraising records, and restoring donor trust," Priebus wrote in the letter, which was obtained by Roll Call. "We deployed a Republican ground game that was the strongest in history. We harnessed new technology and built upon our outreach efforts, reaching more voters and spreading the Republican message. However, there is still much more that needs to be done to strengthen and grow our Party, and to overcome new challenges we now face."
Priebus, the Wisconsin GOP chairman in the 2010 cycle, said he was headed out of town Friday for a vacation with his family and planned to reach out to those RNC members he hasn't spoken with after he returns.