Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Republican Party Chair Reince Priebus: What's His Record in Wisconsin?

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Republican Party Chair Reince Priebus: What's His Record in Wisconsin?

Article excerpt

Wisconsin voters went decidedly red in the 2010 midterm elections, while Reince Priebus presided over the state Republican Party. As new RNC chair, he appears eager to embrace tea party activists.

A year ago, Wisconsin's political landscape would have been described as a healthy purple, overseen primarily by Democrats who prided themselves on being socially progressive but fiscally conservative. No more.

After the November midterm elections and Friday's elevation of native son Reince Priebus to chairman of the Republican National Committee (RNC), Wisconsin is getting a makeover to deep red. Not only does Mr. Priebus, who hails from Kenosha, Wis., and is the former chairman of the Wisconsin Republican Party, now hold the top slot in the national party apparatus, but the state has turned several other major political seats over to Republicans, some of whom have tea party leanings.

Republican Scott Walker, a former County of Milwaukee executive, defeated Democrat and Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett in the governor's race, replacing retiring Gov. James Doyle (D). In another high- profile Wisconsin election in November, businessman Ron Johnson, a Republican from Oshkosh who associated himself with the tea party during the campaign, defeated longtime US Sen. Russ Feingold (D).

Wisconsin Democrats also lost control of the state Assembly and Senate, yielding control of both houses to Republicans for the first time since 1998.

Priebus, whom members of the RNC elected to succeed chairman Michael Steele, acknowledged after his victory on Friday that recent events have favored his party, saying Wisconsin will be "a targeted state" for Democrats in the next election.

"We're not unused to having lots of press. …

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