Republican National Committee

Last updated on 11 May 2017

The Republican National Committee (RNC) is a U.S. political committee that provides national leadership for the Republican Party of the United States. It is responsible for developing and promoting the Republican political platform, as well as coordinating fundraising and election strategy. It is also responsible for organizing and running the Republican National Convention. Similar committees exist in every U.S. state and most U.S. counties, although in some states party organization is structured by congressional district, allied campaign organizations being governed by a national committee. Ronna Romney McDaniel is the current committee chairwoman.

The RNC's main counterpart is the Democratic National Committee.

GOP Square.svg
GOP Square.svg


The 1856 Republican National Convention appointed the first RNC. It consisted of one member from each state and territory to serve for four years. Each national convention since then has followed the precedent of equal representation for each state or territory, regardless of population. From 1924 to 1952, there was a national committeeman and national committeewoman from each state and U.S. possession, and from Washington, D.C.. In 1952, committee membership was expanded to include the state party chairs of states that voted Republican in the preceding presidential election, have a Republican majority in their congressional delegation (U.S. representatives and senators), or have Republican governors. By 1968, membership reached 145. As of 2011, the RNC has 168 members.

The only person to have chaired the RNC and later become U.S. president is George H. W. Bush. A number of the chairs of the RNC have been state governors.

In 2013 the RNC began an outreach campaign toward American youth and minority voters, after studies showed these groups generally perceived that the Republican Party did not care about their concerns.

Chairs of the Republican National Committee

# Chairman Term State Notes
1 Edwin Denison Morgan 1856–1864 New York
2 Henry Jarvis Raymond 1864–1866 New York
3 Marcus Lawrence Ward 1866–1868 New Jersey
4 William Claflin 1868–1872 Massachusetts
5 Edwin Denison Morgan 1872–1876 New York Second term
6 Zachariah Chandler 1876–1879 Michigan
7 James Donald Cameron 1879–1880 Pennsylvania
8 Marshall Jewell 1880–1883 Connecticut
9 Dwight M. Sabin 1883–1884 Minnesota
10 Benjamin Franklin Jones 1884–1888 New Jersey
11 Matthew Stanley Quay 1888–1891 Pennsylvania
12 James S. Clarkson 1891–1892 Iowa
13 William J. Campbell 1892 Illinois Elected in June 1892, he declined the position and resigned in July 1892.
14 Thomas H. Carter 1892–1896 Montana Elected in place of Campbell in July 1892.
15 Mark Hanna 1896–1904 Ohio
16 Henry Clay Payne 1904 Wisconsin
17 George Bruce Cortelyou 1904–1907 New York
18 Harry S. New 1907–1908 Indiana
19 Frank Harris Hitchcock 1908–1909 Ohio
20 John Fremont Hill 1909–1912 Maine
21 Victor Rosewater 1912 Nebraska
22 Charles D. Hilles 1912–1916 New York
23 William R. Wilcox 1916–1918 New York
24 Will H. Hays 1918–1921 Indiana
25 John T. Adams 1921–1924 Iowa
26 William M. Butler 1924–1928 Massachusetts Mary Booze of Mississippi became the first African-American woman member of the RNC.
27 Hubert Work 1928–1929 Colorado
28 Claudius H. Huston 1929–1930 Tennessee First Southerner to be elected chairman.
29 Simeon Davison Fess 1930–1932 Ohio
30 Everett Sanders 1932–1934 Indiana
31 Henry P. Fletcher 1934–1936 Pennsylvania
32 John D. M. Hamilton 1936–1940 Kansas
33 Joseph William Martin Jr. 1940–1942 Massachusetts Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, 1947–49 and 1953–55.
34 Harrison E. Spangler 1942–1944 Iowa
35 Herbert Brownell Jr. 1944–1946 New York
36 Carroll Reece 1946–1948 Tennessee
37 Hugh Scott 1948–1949 Pennsylvania
38 Guy G. Gabrielson 1949–1952 New Jersey
39 Arthur E. Summerfield 1952–1953 Michigan
40 Wesley Roberts 1953 Kansas
41 Leonard W. Hall 1953–1957 New York
42 Meade Alcorn 1957–1959 Connecticut
43 Thruston B. Morton 1959–1961 Kentucky
44 William E. Miller 1961–1964 New York Party's 1964 candidate for Vice President.
45 Dean Burch 1964–1965 Arizona
46 Ray C. Bliss 1965–1969 Ohio
47 Rogers C. B. Morton 1969–1971 Maryland
48 Bob Dole 1971–1973 Kansas Party's candidate for Vice President (1976) and President (1996).
49 George H. W. Bush 1973–1974 Texas 41st President of the United States (1989–1993).
50 Mary Louise Smith 1974–1977 Iowa First woman to serve as Chair.
51 William E. Brock III and Mary Dent Crisp 1977–1981 Tennessee and Arizona
52 Richard Richards 1981–1983 Utah
53 Frank Fahrenkopf 1983–1989 Nevada Paul Laxalt served as general chairman from 1983 to 1987.
Betty Heitman served as co-chair from 1983 to 1987.
Maureen Reagan served as co-chair from 1987 to 1989.
54 Lee Atwater 1989–1991 South Carolina
55 Clayton Keith Yeutter 1991–1992 Nebraska
56 Richard Bond 1992–1993 Missouri
57 Haley Barbour 1993–1997 Mississippi
58 Jim Nicholson 1997–2001 Colorado
59 Jim Gilmore 2001–2002 Virginia
60 Marc Racicot 2002–2003 Montana
61 Ed Gillespie 2003–2005 Virginia
62 Ken Mehlman 2005–2007 Washington, D.C. Stepped down at end of 2006.
63 Mel Martinez 2007 Florida Served with Mike Duncan as general chairman.
63 Mike Duncan 2007–2009 Kentucky Senator Mel Martinez served with Duncan as general chairman before stepping down in October 2007.
64 Michael Steele 2009–2011 Maryland First African-American chairman.
Jan Larimer served as co-chair.
65 Reince Priebus 2011–2017 Wisconsin Sharon Day served as co-chair. Priebus stepped down in 2017 to serve as White House Chief of Staff.
66 Ronna Romney McDaniel 2017–present Michigan Second woman to serve as chair; niece of Fmr. Governor Mitt Romney. Bob Paduchik serves as co-chair.

Chairman elections

1993 RNC Chairman election

Candidate Round 1 Round 2 Round 3
Haley Barbour 60 66 90
Spencer Abraham 47 52 57
Bo Callaway 22 19 18
John Ashcroft 26 20 Withdrew
Craig Berkman 10 8 Withdrew
     Candidate won majority of votes in the round
     Candidate secured a plurality of votes in the round
     Candidate withdrew

1997 RNC Chairman election

Candidate Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Round 4 Round 5 Round 6
Jim Nicholson 23 30 38 65 74 *
David Norcross 41 46 47 50 47 Withdrew
Steve Merrill 42 42 43 46 43 Withdrew
John S. Herrington 4 4 3 3 Withdrew
Tom Pauken 22 24 21 Withdrew
Chuck Yob 17 18 12 Withdrew
Robert T. Bennett 15 Withdrew
     Candidate won majority of votes in the round
     Candidate secured a plurality of votes in the round
     Candidate withdrew
  • Merrill and Norcross both dropped out after the fifth round, giving the chairmanship to Nicholson by acclamation.

2009 RNC Chairman election

On November 24, 2008, Steele launched his campaign for the RNC chairmanship with the launching of his website. On January 30, 2009, Steele won the chairmanship of the RNC in the sixth round, with 91 votes to Dawson's 77.

Source: CQPolitics, and Poll Pundit.

Candidate Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Round 4 Round 5 Round 6
Michael Steele 46 48 51 60 79 91
Katon Dawson 28 29 34 62 69 77
Saul Anuzis 22 24 24 31 20 Withdrew
Ken Blackwell 20 19 15 15 Withdrew
Mike Duncan 52 48 44 Withdrew
     Candidate won majority of votes in the round
     Candidate secured a plurality of votes in the round
     Candidate withdrew

On announcing his candidacy to succeed RNC Chairman Duncan, former Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael Steele described the party as being at a crossroads and not knowing what to do. "I think I may have some keys to open the door, some juice to turn on the lights," he said.

Six people ran for the 2009 RNC Chairmanship: Steele, Ken Blackwell, Mike Duncan, Saul Anuzis, Katon Dawson and Chip Saltsman. After Saltsman's withdrawal, there were only five candidates during the hotly contested balloting January 30, 2009.

After the third round of balloting that day, Steele held a small lead over incumbent Mike Duncan of Kentucky, with 51 votes to Duncan's 44. Shortly after the announcement of the standings, Duncan dropped out of contention without endorsing a candidate. Ken Blackwell, the only other African-American candidate, dropped out after the fourth ballot and endorsed Steele, though Blackwell had been the most socially conservative of the candidates and Steele had been accused of not being "sufficiently conservative." Steele picked up Blackwell's votes. After the fifth round, Steele held a ten-vote lead over Katon Dawson, with 79 votes, and Saul Anuzis dropped out. After the sixth vote, he won the chairmanship of the RNC over Dawson by a vote of 91 to 77.

Mississippi Governor and former RNC chair Haley Barbour has suggested the party will focus its efforts on congressional and gubernatorial elections in the coming years rather than the next presidential election. "When I was chairman of the Republican National Committee the last time we lost the White House in 1992 we focused exclusively on 1993 and 1994. And at the end of that time, we had both houses of Congress with Republican majorities, and we'd gone from 17 Republican governors to 31. So anyone talking about 2012 today doesn't have their eye on the ball. What we ought to worry about is rebuilding our party over the next year and particularly in 2010," Barbour said at the November 2008 Republican Governors conference.

2011 RNC Chairman election

Reince Priebus by Gage Skidmore 2.jpg
Chairman of the Republican National Committee Reince Priebus at the Western Republican Leadership Conference in October 2011 in Las Vegas

Michael Steele ran for re-election at the 2011 RNC winter meeting. Other candidates were Reince Priebus, Republican Party of Wisconsin Chairman, Ann Wagner, former Ambassador to Luxembourg, Saul Anuzis, former Republican Party Chairman of Michigan, and Maria Cino, former acting Secretary of Transportation under George W. Bush. Steele's critics increasingly called on him to step down as RNC Chair when his term ended in 2011. A debate for Chairman hosted by Americans for Tax Reform took place on January 3 at the National Press Club. The election for Chairman took place January 14 at the RNC's winter meeting with Reince Priebus winning on the seventh ballot after Steele and Wagner withdrew.

Candidate Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Round 4 Round 5 Round 6 Round 7
Reince Priebus 45 52 54 58 67 80 97
Saul Anuzis 24 22 21 24 32 37 43
Maria Cino 32 30 28 29 40 34 28
Ann Wagner 23 27 32 28 28 17 Withdrew
Michael Steele 44 37 33 28 Withdrew
     Candidate won majority of votes in the round
     Candidate secured a plurality of votes in the round
     Candidate withdrew

2013 and 2015 RNC Chairman elections

Priebus won re-election with near unanimity in the party's 2013 meeting in Charlotte, North Carolina. He was re-elected to a third term in 2015, setting him up to become the longest serving head of the party ever.

After winning in November 2016, President-Elect Donald Trump designated Priebus as his White House Chief of Staff, to begin upon his taking office in January 2017; David Bossie of Maryland was seen as a potential next RNC chairman.

Trump then recommended Ronna Romney McDaniel as RNC Chairwoman, and she was ultimately elected to that role by the RNC in January 2017.

Current Republican National Committee members

This is a list of the voting members of the Republican National Committee as of November 2016. The state chair, national committeeman and national committeewoman each receive one vote at RNC meetings and votes for RNC Chairmanship.

State Chairperson Committeeman Committeewoman
Alabama Terry Lathan Paul Reynolds Vicki Drummond
Alaska Tuckerman Babcock Peter Goldberg Cynthia Henry
American Samoa Utu Abe Malae Su'a Schuster Amata C. Radewagen
Arizona Robert Graham Bruce Ash Lori Klein Corbin
Arkansas Doyle Webb Jonathan Barnett Jonelle Fulmer
California Jim Brulte Shawn Steel Harmeet Dhillon
Colorado Steve House George Leing Vera Ortegon
Connecticut J. R. Romano John H. Frey Leora Levy
Delaware Charlie Copeland W. Laird Stabler, III Ellen Barrosse
District of Columbia Jose Cunningham Robert Kabel Jill Homan
Florida Blaise Ingoglia Peter Feaman Sharon Day
Georgia John Padgett Randy Evans Ginger Howard
Guam Victor Cruz Jay Rojas Margaret Metcalfe
Hawaii Fritz Rohlfing Gene Ward Miriam Hellreich
Idaho Stephen Yates Damond Watkins Cindy Siddoway
Illinois Tim Schneider Richard Porter Demetra DeMonte
Indiana Jeff Cardwell John Hammond Marsha Coats
Iowa Jeff Kaufmann Steve Scheffler Tamara Scott
Kansas Kelly Arnold Mark Kahrs Helen Van Etten
Kentucky J. Brown Mike Duncan KC Crosbie
Louisiana Roger F. Villere Ross Little Jr. Lenar Whitney
Maine Rick Bennett Alex Willette Ellie Espling
Maryland Diana Waterman David Bossie Nicolee Ambrose
Massachusetts Kirsten Hughes Ron Kaufman Keiko Orrall
Michigan Ronna Romney McDaniel Robert Steele Kathy Berden
Minnesota Jennifer Carnahan Rick Rice Janet Beihoffer
Mississippi Joe Nosef Henry Barbour Jeanne C. Luckey
Missouri John Hancock Gordon Kinne Susie Eckelkamp
Montana Jeff Essmann Art Wittich Jennifer Fielder
Nebraska Dan Welch J. L. Spray Joyce Simmons
Nevada Michael J. McDonald Lee Hoffman Diana Orrock
New Hampshire Jennifer Horn Steve Duprey Juliana Bergeron
New Jersey Sam Raia Bill Palatucci Virginia Haines
New Mexico Debbie Maestas Harvey Yates Rosalind F. Tripp
New York Edward F. Cox Charles P. Joyce Jennifer Saul Rich
North Carolina Robin Hayes Mark Brody Ada Fisher
North Dakota Kelly Armstrong Shane Goettle Sandy Boehler
Northern Mariana Islands James A. Ada Bo Palacios Vicky Villagomez
Ohio Jane Timken Jim Dicke Jo Ann Davidson
Oklahoma Pam Pollard Steve Curry Carolyn McLarty
Oregon Bill Currier Solomon Yue Jr. Marilyn Shannon
Pennsylvania Robert Gleason Robert B. Asher Christine Jack Toretti
Puerto Rico Jennifer G. Colon Luis Fortuño Zoraida "Zori" Fonalledas
Rhode Island Brandon Bell Steve Frias Lee Ann Sennick
South Carolina Matt Moore Glenn McCall Cindy Costa
South Dakota Pam Roberts Ried Holien Sandye Kading
Tennessee Ryan A. Haynes Oscar Brock Beth Campbell
Texas Tom Mechler Robin Armstrong Toni Anne Dashiell
Utah James Evans Thomas Wright Anne-Marie Lampropoulos
Vermont David Sunderland Jay Shepard Susie Hudson
Virginia John C. Whitbeck Morton Blackwell Cynthia Dunbar
Washington Susan Hutchison Jeff Kent Fredi Simpson
West Virginia Conrad Lucas Kris Warner Melody Potter
Wisconsin Brad Courtney Steve King Mary F. Buestrin
Wyoming Matt Micheli Richard George Marti Halverson

Para Bellum Labs

In February 2014, during the chairmanship of Reince Priebus, the RNC launched an in-house technology incubator called Para Bellum Labs. This new unit of the RNC was first headed by Azarias Reda, an engineer with a PhD in computer science from the University of Michigan. The effort is designed to help the party and its candidates bridge the technology gap. Para Bellum, translated from Latin, means "prepare for war."

See also

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