The Republican National Committee met today and after seven ballots, Wisconsin party leader Reince Priebus was elected as the new RNC Chairman. Michael Steele, the incumbent Chairman, stepped aside after four ballots proved that his two-year term would not be extended. Priebus then went on to defeat Saul Anuzis, Ann Wagner and Maria Cino, whom Steele supported after his withdraw. During his acceptance speech, Reince Priebus said “We can defeat Barack Obama in 2012″.

Michael Steele departs under a cloud after the RNC’s poor showing during fund-raising drives for the 2010 elections. While the GOP’s Governors, Senate and Congressional fund-raising did very well, the RNC itself wound up $22 million dollars in the red. Some point to a scandal in 2009 where RNC funds were misused by Steele staffers on a wild night in California. His approach to oppose the Obama administration early on was also questioned, giving Steele the persona of a ‘weak sister’. A series of gaffes on TV and radio talk shows did not help Steele shore up his leadership position.

Rience Priebus earned a reputation for success in Wisconsin. Congressman Paul Ryan, a rising star among Conservatives, sang his praises. Priebus helped guide a successful campaign which elected Ron Johnson with win Russ Feingold’s seat in the U.S. Senate. Some attribute Priebus with turning Wisconsin from a ‘Blue’ state to a ‘Red’ state.

Priebus led the voting in each of the seven ballots. On the final one, he finished in first place with 97 votes. Michigan’s Saul Anuzis came in second with 37 votes. In third place was Marie Cino, with only 28 votes. She had the backing of Speaker John Boehner and was later supported by Michael Steele after he withdrew, at which time, on the 5th ballot, she came in second with 40 votes. Bringing up the rear was former Missouri chair, Ann Wagner, with only 17 votes.

Reince Priebus , the new RNC chairman, led the Wisconsin party since 2007, gaining two Congressional seats, a U.S. Senate seat and the state’s governor’s office. After seven ballots, he replaced Michael Steele as chairman of the Republican National Committee. Priebus is confident that the GOp will defeat Barack Obama in 2012.

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