The Age of Priebus

by Pejman Yousefzadeh on January 15, 2011

I don’t know much about the new Republican National Committee Chairman, Reince Priebus, but what I read here causes me to think that he may be cut out for his new, very tough job:

It’s hard to be much more Republican than Reince Priebus.

A member of the College Republicans at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, he rose through the state party ranks through a combination of smarts and sheer willpower. And his first date with his future wife was a Lincoln Day dinner.

The party devotion paid off Friday when the national GOP picked the tenacious 38-year-old Kenosha native as its chairman.

“I’m not surprised to be sitting here in 2011 with him just getting elected as chairman,” said Brian Schimming, the state GOP’s first vice-chairman who has known Priebus for nearly 20 years. “When Reince decides to do something, he’s all in. And he was all in on this.”

Born and raised in Kenosha, Priebus graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater in 1994 and worked as a legislative clerk for the state Assembly Education Committee.

He earned a law degree from the University of Miami, graduating with honors in 1998. He joined the firm Michael, Best & Friedrich in Milwaukee, where he specializes in corporate litigation. The Milwaukee Business Journal in 2008 named him one of Milwaukee’s 40 Under 40, an honor the publication bestows on up-and-coming community leaders.

[. . .]

U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson credited Priebus with helping him knock off Sen. Russ Feingold, Wisconsin’s heavyweight Democratic incumbent who’d been seen as a strong favorite early in the campaign season.

“With no previous political experience, I had to have a trusted confidant to rely upon and a strong state party organization that enabled my campaign to reach deeply into the grass roots,” Johnson wrote in a Thursday letter endorsing Priebus for the RNC position. “Reince provided both.”

[. . .]

“He’s as driven as he is sharp,” Schimming said. “You get people who . . . drive the effort just by the force of their will. And that’s Reince.”

Obviously, much of what attracts people to Priebus is that he is no Michael Steele, who proved himself to be a disastrous RNC Chairman despite the fact that the party was able to make tremendous gains in the 2010 midterm elections. But standing on his own, Priebus seems to be an impressive fellow. I allow for the possibility that the linked story was a beat sweetener, but even after allowing for that, one has to conclude that Priebus has a significant fan base. Here’s hoping that what his fans say about him is true.

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