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Third Candidate Jumps Into RNC Race

Reince Priebus, chairman of the Republican Party of Wisconsin and member of the Republican National Committee, has formed a 527 to support his bid for chairman of the RNC.

Priebus’ bid is a blow to chairman Michael Steele, who hasn’t announced whether he will run for re-election. Priebus promoted Steele’s bid for chairman in 2009 and remained an ally during Steele’s rocky tenure.

Priebus stepped down from his position as counsel for the RNC over the weekend, and he sent a letter Monday announcing his bid to members of the RNC, according to Hotline On Call.

“The RNC must be at its best during this next election cycle,” he wrote. “There is too much at risk for our Party and, more importantly, for our country. That is why I am running for Chairman.”

Priebus is the third candidate to formally announce a bid for chairman of the RNC, and all three have experience leading Republican parties in Midwestern swing states. Former Michigan GOP Chairman Saul Anuzis and former Missouri Republican Party Chairwoman Ann Wagner are already in the race. All three have touted Republican success in their home states in their bids to lead the national organization.

In Wisconsin, Republicans had a monumental 2010 election cycle. Republican Scott Walker won the open governor’s race, newcomer Ron Johnson defeated longtime Sen. Russ Feingold (D), two House seats flipped from Democrats to Republicans and both chambers of the state legislature shifted from Democratic control to Republican control.

Priebus has emphasized that the state GOP cooperated with tea party activists and presented a united front following the state’s September primaries. Priebus became chairman of the state party in 2007.

Connecticut Republican Party Chairman Chris Healy is also considering joining the race, as are former RNC Chairman Mike Duncan, former political appointee Maria Cino, former RNC Political Director Gentry Collins and others. The 168 members of the RNC will vote on the new chairman Jan. 12-15, during the group’s winter meeting at National Harbor.

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