Moi and Reince Preibus at RNC Gala 2011 in Washington,D.c.
Reinhold Richard Priebus was born on March 18, 1972 in Dover, New Jersey, and lived in Netcong, New Jersey, until his family moved to Green Bay, Wisconsin, when he was seven years old. His father is a former union electrician and his mother a real estate agent. Some sources, including his biography on the Republican Party website, identify his parents’ names as “Richard and Dimitra”, with “Roula” as a nickname for his mother. His father is of German descent and his mother, who was born in Sudan, is of Greek descent.
At 16, he volunteered for several political campaigns in high school. After graduating from high school, he attended the University of Wisconsin–Whitewater, where he majored in English and political science, and joined the Delta Chi fraternity.Priebus graduated cum laude in 1994 and prior to that had been elected to serve as student body president and was president of the College Republicans.
In 1998, he graduated with a J.D. degree cum laude from the University of Miami after serving as president of the Law School Student Body. He moved back to Wisconsin and became a member of the State Bar. Subsequently, he joined Wisconsin law firmMichael Best & Friedrich LLP, where he became a partner in 2006, practicing in the firm’s litigation and corporate practice groups. While working at Michael Best & Friedrich, he was named as one of Wisconsin Super Lawyers magazine’s “Rising Stars” in 2008 and was included in the Milwaukee Business Journal‘s ”40 Under 40″ list, also in 2008.
As chairman of the Wisconsin Republican Party, Priebus led the party to success in the November 2010 elections in Wisconsin, which was previously a state held by the Democratic Party. The party won control of the State Senate and Assembly, and a Republican candidate was elected Governor. In particular, his work to bring Wisconsin’s Tea Party movement together with the mainstream Republican party organization, and avoid conflict between the two, was credited by commentators as contributing to the party’s success. Following the success of the 2010 elections, Priebus, together with Paul Ryan and Scott Walker, became known as part of a rising Republican movement in Wisconsin that was influential on the national level and focused on conservative ideologies, particularly fiscal conservatism.
Priebus continued as Wisconsin party chairman and general counsel to the RNC to late 2010, when he stepped down as general counsel to run for election to chairman of the committee.
2011 RNC chairmanship election
On December 5, 2010, Priebus stepped down as general counsel for the Republican National Committee (RNC). The next day he sent a letter to all 168 voting members of the RNC announcing his candidacy for chairman. Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker supported Priebus’ bid from the beginning, attributing the party’s victories in Wisconsin to “Priebus’ leadership and involvement in the grassroots Tea Party movement that swept the state and the nation”. Priebus told delegates in his letter: “I will keep expenses low. I will put in strong and serious controls. We will raise the necessary funds to make sure we are successful. We will work to regain the confidence of our donor base and I will personally call our major donors to ask them to rejoin our efforts at the RNC.”
Priebus in May 2010
On January 14, 2011, after seven rounds of voting, Priebus was elected chairman of the Republican National Committee.