Wisconsin GOP Chairman Reince Priebus officially threw his hat into the ring for chairman of the national Republican Party Monday.
Priebus’s decision to run was driven by a desire to defeat Barack Obama and his administration in the 2012 election, according to a statement.
“Our country cannot afford a second term of President Obama and Democrat control of the U.S. Senate and possibly the House,” Priebus said in the statement.
To accomplish this, Priebus promised, “Less drama, more hard work, more results and more focus on winning.”
Priebus also emphasized his role in securing a landslide Republican victory in the last midterm election in Wisconsin as one of his most qualifying experiences for the nation’s GOP chair.
Wisconsin was the only state where Republicans gained a governor and the entire Legislature, as well as a U.S. senator.
Priebus is also in the interesting position of running against current chairman Michael Steele, since Priebus ran Steele’s 2009 campaign and also remained a close advisor of Steele’s.
University of Wisconsin political science professor Charles Franklin said Priebus’ connection to Steele could be problematic.
“Prior to the election, it was always really delicate on how to deal with Michael Steele,” Franklin said. “But I think with the emergence of other candidates, it’s become clear that there will be a challenge to Steele no matter what.”
The governor Priebus worked to elect, Gov.-elect Scott Walker, has already come out in support of the Wisconsin GOP chairman.
Walker said in a statement Wisconsin’s GOP victories were due in large part to Priebus’ leadership and involvement in the grassroots Tea Party movement that swept the state and the nation.
“He is exactly what the national GOP needs: a skilled and proven leader who never forgot the roots of the party,” Walker said in a statement.
Barry Burden, a UW political science professor, said in an e-mail Priebus is an attractive candidate partly because he is a representative of one of the Midwest battleground states.
Burden said the party chair is mostly responsible for fundraising, speaking to the media and planning the national convention.
Franklin added more than anything, if Priebus wins the chair he will serve as “fundraiser-in-chief.”