Reince Priebus just became the 65th Chairman of the RNC by garnering 97 votes in the seventh round of voting. After the fourth vote, Michael Steele dropped out of the running and said, “It’s very clear that the party wants to do something different.” Saul Anuzis obtained 43 votes and Maria Cino 28 votes. Here is what you need to know about the new RNC chairman:
— Priebus’s law firm sought funds from Obama’s stimulus package: Connecticut GOP chairman Chris Healy noted that Priebus’s Wisconsin law firm helped its clients obtain federal stimulus funds, citing the fact that Priebus’s name was attached to the “Stimulus and Economic Recovery Group.” Priebus immediately responded to the story, claiming he had never worked with his firm’s “Stimulus and Economic Recovery” group.
— His law firm says the recently passed health care bill is constitutional: Priebus’s law firm not only says the law is constitutional, but has touted its benefits to clients.
— Implicated in voter caging: While Priebus was chair of the Wisconsin GOP, the state party engaged fomented voter fraud conspiracies and hatched a voter caging plot with well-funded right-wing allies to suppress minority votes. One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross said, “When voter suppression allegations have surfaced in Wisconsin for the past decade, the name Reince Priebus isn’t far behind.”
— He has the backing of many of the Barbour clan: Henry Barbour, a committeeman from Mississippi and the nephew of Gov. Hale Barbour (R-MS), enticed Priebus into running for the RNC chair. Also, Nick Ayers, a close Barbour associate and executive director of the Republican Governors Association, reportedly gave behind-the-scenes support to Priebus, leading many to believe Priebus would favor Barbour for president in 2012. Priebus responded by saying, “I’m not Haley’s choice, I don’t think that Haley has any horse in the race, and he’s made that pretty clear on the record.”
— Priebus had close ties to former chairman Michael Steele, then stabbed him in the back: Priebus was Steele’s general counsel and frequently served as Steele’s top liaison to committee members. In a memo sent to RNC members, Connecticut Party chairman Chris Healy said that Priebus is partly responsible for the RNC’s poor performance. Commenting on Priebus’ run, Steele recently said, “It’s disappointing, you would hope that the bonds of loyalty were thicker than they apparently were.”
— Priebus mistakenly called for Obama’s execution: In a media conference call about Osama Bin Laden, Priebus slipped and accidentally called for the “execution” of Obama three separate times. “My guess is he would believe that Obama should be executed and he oughta be treated as a war criminal,” Priebus explained.
Priebus has said that he is dissatisfied with the 20 million dollar debt ran up by Steele, but as has been shown, Priebus worked closely with Steele during his tenure. So there’s a new face, but it’s still the same old party.