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Priebus Nets Big Fish in RNC Chairman’s Race

Don’t know if it will seal the deal for him, but it’s going to send some shock waves inside the RNC’s upper echelon.

One of the best-known conservative voices on the Republican National Committee will support Reince Priebus in the race for national party chairman next month, according to an email sent to committee members today.

Priebus, the chairman of the Wisconsin Republican Party, has won backing from Indiana national committee member Jim Bopp, a prominent Republican attorney and the founder of a group of conservative members of the RNC.

Bopp’s group, the Republican National Conservative Caucus, was formed just before the 2009 RNC election. Many saw it as a way to coalesce behind a candidate other than Michael Steele, who went on to win the chairmanship.

Priebus “has successfully employed in Wisconsin and intends to implement in the RNC a leadership team approach, which I believe is vital for any Chairman’s success. This means bring together a top notched group of RNC members and professionals … to guide the RNC’s activities,” Bopp wrote in an email to fellow RNC members.

Bopp’s endorsement means 18 of the 168 members of the RNC publicly back Priebus, far more than support any other candidate for the chairmanship. And Bopp’s endorsement will help Priebus convince wavering conservatives that he is the right candidate for the job.

Bopp’s name may be familiar to some in Wisconsin.  He was lead attorney during the Wisconsin Right to Life vs. FEC Supreme Court case in 2007 which was the first break in the dam of the McCain-Feingold Campaign Finance bill.

Bopp has also been a constant and vocal critic of current RNC Chairman Michael Steele.  By getting the Bopp endorsement, that should help alleviate fears being tossed around by some trying to say Reince would be a second Steele Chairmanship; something he won’t for sure.

CNN has the full letter Bopp wrote to the 168 voting members here.  This is the meat of it:

As to vision, it has two parts in my view. First is how one understands the proper role of the RNC within the current political environment. Years ago, we elected Politicians as our “Leaders,” who told the People what government policies they should support and what Politicians they should elect. The Party was a support group for the Politicians. This paradigm has been destroyed. The most prominent manifestation of this is the tea party movement, but it is universal, cutting across all ideological lines. Now, it is the People who are in charge, who are the leaders. Politicians are elected to do a job that the People need done and the Party is to be the People’s agent, holding Politicians accountable for carrying out the will of the People.

The second part is that what we do as a Party and our Politicians do in office must be based on the core Republican principles contained in our Party Platform. When we deviate for this, as in 2006 and 2008, we suffer defeat; when we embrace them, as in 2010, we achieve victory.

By this measure, I have found Reince, based on his actions as Wisc. Chairman, on his efforts as General Counsel, and on my in depth discussions with him, to have the best grasp of both parts of this vision. He is willing to implement this vision as RNC Chairman. I think he understands that we need more active RNC member participation and that members need to be empowered to hold the leadership accountable.

As to skill set, first Reince has the personal characteristics, analytical mind and communication abilities to be an effective Chairman. Second, he has the demonstrated management, administrative and fundraising ability. I have major conservative clients in Wisconsin and they are unanimous in verifying this. Third, he has successfully employed in Wisconsin and intends to implement in the RNC a leadership team approach, which I believe is vital for any Chairman’s success. This means bring together a top notched group of RNC members and professionals together to guide the RNC’s activities.

Finally, are there any disqualifiers? I have already publicly spoken of this and I invite you consider my findings, after asking the hard questions and seeking verifications where appropriate.

I particularly wanted to mention that the concern about his involvement in his law firm’s effort to profit on stimulus funds is not well founded. I have talked to the people at the law firm and have found that his name was listed as involved in this project without his knowledge or consent and that a review of his billing records discloses that he did not work on this project.

As a result, I believe that Reince Priebus is the best choice for Chairman. It was a close decision, particularly between Saul [Anuzis, Michigan Committeeman] and Reince, since I think Ann [Wagner] has an insurmountable difficulty reaching a majority of the votes, because of our unfair gender requirement for Co-Chairman.

Priebus, Anuzis, and Wagner are seen as the top three candidates for the position not named Michael Steele.

The “disqualifiers” Bopp mentions is a nonsense story being circulated — mostly by conservative blogs backing Wagner — saying that Priebus set up a division at his law firm, Michael Best & Friedrich, to help companies in Wisconsin navigate the compliance of regulations for the stimulus bill.  MBF and Priebus have denied he was ever part of the work and his name was placed on the project by mistake.

If, as MBF is telling Bopp, the firm has the billing records showing Priebus was never involved, that should end the story to any concerned RNC Committee members.

Same probably can’t be said about Dan Riehl, the blogger who started it all.  He may still be calling anyone who thought Christine O’Donnell had no chance of winning in the Delaware Senate race was not a true conservative.

(Yeah Dan, we preferred to be called “Realists.”)

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  • Great News for Reince! Thanks for the information! If you get a chance please visit http://kenoshacountyteaparty.com

  • IIRC, “reality” had no effect on the signatories of the Declaration of Independence.

    /Snark

    More interesting: who is leaking the venom to Riehl??

  • Anonymous

    No idea who’s giving Riehl his stuff, but it’s getting ridiculous.
    Previously this week he had a post up going on about how Reince’s law school
    clerkship somehow shows he’s a liberal.

    You have to love all these guys who’ve never met Reince telling the rest of
    America what the guy’s like.

  • Today, the St Louis BlogMouth posts another absolutely Bice-Like item–misconstruing a quote from Bopp to make Bopp into a sexist troglodyte and hoping the splatter lands on Priebus’ shirt.

    Hoft should be a Democrat operative. SSDP (different party)

  • Update: Hoft PULLED the post which made Bopp into a sexist.

    Gee. I wonder why. Could it be that the post was idiotic, or that Hoft was told that a lawsuit was possible?