Priebus took over the RNC in 2011 with multiple problems on his plate from the get go. The committee was $24 million in debt with major donors fleeing. A top official had just been fired over a fundraiser at a strip club in Los Angeles. After becoming the longest serving chairman of the RNC, the debt is gone while the wealthy insiders and officials who compromise and donate to the RNC offer praise.
Priebus had a tough job in rebuilding a party that lost the popular vote in the last five of six presidential elections. The Republican Party also lost power completely with Obama’s 2008 victory, but four years later, instead of giving up the fight, he announced that the RNC would conduct a vigorous look into all that had gone wrong. After Mitt Romney’s loss in 2012, Priebus vowed to figure out the most effective way to refashion the party for more modern times.
Sally Bradshaw co-authored a report and stated that “it wasn’t the RNC’s fault that things didn’t work out in 2012.” She goes on to say “but Priebus was willing to say ‘There’s no other entity that can do this’.” Priebus knew that he and his fellow GOP members were the ones that could turn this around.
Not too long ago, Priebus was interviewed and wanted to make sure the media and public were aware of the GOP’s ‘forward progress’. “The changes we’ve made are historic,” he said at the RNC headquarters where the multitude of GOP portraits are enough to inspire even the most skeptical.
Although Priebus may come off as the sober boss, he surprises with his understated competence. “He disarms you with his ‘aw, shucks, I’m from Kenosha’ routine,” says RNC finance chairman. “But he’s very politically astute. He’s the best fundraising chairman I’ve ever seen,” the former senior adviser added.