Reince Priebus, chairman of the Republican National Committee, attends a press conference at RNC Headquarters in Washington on Nov. 5, 2014.
Saul Loeb—AFP/Getty Images
By Zeke J Miller
December 9, 2014

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus formally declared his bid for a third two-year term Monday evening in an email to members.

Priebus, who oversaw both the party’s defeat in 2012 and orchestrated its rehabilitation in time for record 2014 pickups, is all but assured to be re-elected in January when the 168 members of the committee gather in Coronado, Calif., for the RNC’s winter meeting. In his note, Priebus thanked the 150 members who have already endorsed him for another term.

“With such support it is impossible for me to say no,” Priebus wrote in an email to members of the committee. “Therefore, I write to seek your support for another term as RNC Chairman.”

Priebus took over a debt-laden, drama-filled party following the tenure of former RNC chairman Michael Steele, but record fundraising alone could not lead the party to victory over President Barack Obama. After the defeat, Priebus commissioned an autopsy of the election results called the Growth and Opportunity Project, which recommended sweeping changes to the way the RNC and the party as a whole conducts business.

Many of those reforms, including redrawing the calendar and rules and modernizing the party’s digital and field programs, have been implemented and are credited with helping to bring the party to victory in last month’s midterm elections. But the party has still not acted on the report’s sole policy recommendation: a call to moderate on immigration reform.

“As some of you may have heard me say, thus far we accomplished about 80% of what we needed to accomplish with another 80% left to go,” Priebus wrote to members. “If we are going to win in 2016, we must build upon what we were able to accomplish over the last 4 years, and I ask for your continued support to make sure we do in fact accomplish that goal. In the words of legendary Green Bay Packers’ coach, Vince Lombardi, ‘Winning isn’t everything; it’s the only thing.'”

Priebus was re-elected to his second term with near unanimity in 2013 at the party’s meeting in Charlotte, and he has already secured the overwhelming majority of members for his latest bid, including all of the party’s heavy-hitters. Among those who are currently not listed as Priebus supporters are several members who have clashed with the chairman, including Virginia committeeman Morton Blackwell and Maine committeewoman Ashley Ryan—who have repeatedly protested the party’s rules changes over the last two years—and Michigan committeeman Dave Agema, who has drawn Preibus’ condemnation for controversial remarks about homosexuality.

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