Key Pro-Life Leader Backs Priebus for Republican Party Chair

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Dec 22, 2010   |   7:00PM   |   Washington, DC

Respected pro-life leader Jim Bopp, the legal counsel for the National Right to Life Committee and a key Republican attorney, has made an endorsement in the race for the Republican Party chairmanship.

Bopp, who has also represented Republican and conservative groups and is considered the foremost expert on both abortion and campaign finance law, is backing Wisconsin Republican Party chairman Reince Priebus, who is pro-life, for the key position.

The post is important because the new national Republican Party chairman will head the party’s fundraising and voter turnout efforts that could make the difference in the outcome of the race to defeat pro-abortion President Barack Obama.

In an email to fellow Republicans, Bopp wrote that Priebus “has successfully employed in Wisconsin and intends to implement in the RNC a leadership team approach, which I believe is vital for any Chairman’s success.”

“This means bringing together a top-notch group of RNC members and professionals … to guide the RNC’s activities,” he said.

A portion of the letter reads as follows:

I view our goal to elect a Chairman of the RNC who has the vision and skill set to maximize the effect of the RNC on the 2012 elections. A corollary goal is the defeat of Michael Steele, as he has demonstrated that he is not capable of accomplishing this goal.

As to vision, it has two parts in my view. First is how one understands the proper role of the RNC within the current political environment. Years ago, we elected Politicians as our “Leaders,” who told the People what government policies they should support and what Politicians they should elect.  The Party was a support group for the Politicians. This paradigm has been destroyed. The most prominent manifestation of this is the tea party movement, but it is universal, cutting across all ideological lines. Now, it is the People who are in charge, who are the leaders. Politicians are elected to do a job that the People need done and the Party is to be the People’s agent, holding Politicians accountable for carrying out the will of the People.
 The second part is that what we do as a Party and our Politicians do in office must be based on the core Republican principles contained in our Party Platform.  When we deviate for this, as in 2006 and 2008, we suffer defeat; when we embrace them, as in 2010, we achieve victory.
By this measure, I have found Reince, based on his actions as Wisc. Chairman, on his efforts as General Counsel, and on my in depth discussions with him, to have the best grasp of both parts of this vision. He is willing to implement this vision as RNC Chairman. I think he understands that we need more active RNC member participation and that members need to be empowered to hold the leadership accountable.
 As to skill set, first Reince has the personal characteristics, analytical mind and communication abilities to be an effective Chairman.  Second, he has the demonstrated management, administrative and fundraising ability.  I have major conservative clients in Wisconsin and they are unanimous in verifying this. Third, he has successfully employed in Wisconsin and intends to implement in the RNC a leadership team approach, which I believe is vital for any Chairman’s success. This means bring together a top notched group of RNC members and professionals together to guide the RNC’s activities.

Priebus certainly saw pro-life and Republican success in the November 2010 elections, where pro-life candidate Scott Walker won the gubernatorial race over pro-abortion Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett  and pro-life candidate Ron Johnson toppled incumbent pro-abortion Sen. Russ Feingold in one of the biggest upsets of the election cycle.

Bopp is a member of the Republican National Committee, the group of 168 GOP activists who will be responsible for selecting the next chairman, and he heads a conservative coalition of members of that body.

The National Journal indicates Bopp’s endorsement puts Priebus at 18 endorsements from the 168 members of the RNC, allowing him to have the most publicly declared support of any of the candidates.

Priebus is taking on current chairman Michael Steele as well as Saul Anuzis, a pro-life former Michigan Republican chairman and Gentry Collins, who served as RNC political director until last month when he resigned and issued a scathing report on Steele’s tenure and financial and fundraising problems.

Other candidates include Ann Wagner of Missouri, former co-chair of the RNC and Maria Cino, a longtime Republican official with ties to former President George W. Bush and who has the backing of RNC Chairman Ed Gillespie and former Vice President Dick Cheney.

Key pro-life groups have already weighed in and are sponsoring a debate for the candidates and have said Steele should not be re-elected.