Republican National Committee

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Republican National Committee (RNC)
RNC logo.JPG
Basic facts
Location:Washington, D.C.
Top official:Reince Priebus
Year founded:1854
Website:Official website
The Republican National Committee (RNC) provides national leadership for the Republican Party of the United States.


The Republican National Committee 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 every four years. It is also one of the two major contemporary political parties of the United States, along with the Democratic Party. It is often referred to as the Grand Old Party or the GOP.

Today, the Republican party supports a conservative platform (from an American political perspective), with further foundations in laissez-faire capitalism, low taxes, supply-side fiscal policies and social conservatism.[1][2][3][4]

The nickname the Grand Old Party did not come to be until 1888. Previously, the nickname had been used by Southern Democrats. After the Republicans won back the Presidency and Congress for the first time since the Grant administration, the Chicago Tribune proclaimed, "Let us be thankful that under the rule of the Grand Old Party ... these United States will resume the onward and upward march which the election of Grover Cleveland in 1884 partially arrested."[5]

The party’s official logo, the elephant, is derived from a cartoon by Thomas Nast.[1]

The current chairman is Reince Priebus.[6]

Its main counterpart is the Democratic National Committee.


See also: History of the Republican Party

Founded in 1854 by anti-slavery expansion activists and modernizers, the Republican Party quickly surpassed the Whig Party as the principal opposition to the Democratic Party. The first documented meeting of the Republican Party took place in Ripon, Wisconsin that year.[5] In 1860, it came to power with the election of Abraham Lincoln to the presidency.

The RNC lists the following history of the GOP on their website:[7]

Grand New Party

It began in a little schoolhouse in Ripon, Wisconsin, in 1854. A small group of dedicated abolitionists gathered to fight the expansion of slavery, and they gave birth to a Party dedicated to freedom and equal opportunity.

The name “Republican” was chosen, alluding to Thomas Jefferson’s Democratic-Republican Party and conveying a commitment to the inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

The Party was formally organized in July 1854 by thousands of anti-slavery activists at a convention in Jackson, Michigan. And it was no accident that two years later, in 1856, the first Republican National Convention took place in Philadelphia, where the Constitution was written.

Party of Freedom

Though popularized in a Thomas Nast cartoon, the GOP’s elephant symbol originated during the 1860 campaign, as a symbol of Republican strength. Republicans envisioned “free soil, free speech, free labor.”

Under the leadership of President Abraham Lincoln, the GOP became the Party of the Union as well. President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, but it was the entire Republican Party who freed the slaves. The 1864 Republican National Convention called for the abolition of slavery, and Congressional Republicans passed the 13th Amendment unanimously, with only a few Democrat votes.

The early women’s rights movement was solidly Republican, as it was a continuation of abolitionism. They were careful not to be overly partisan, but as did Susan B. Anthony, most suffragists favored the GOP. The 19th Amendment was written by a Republican senator and garnered greater support from Republicans than from Democrats.

Party of Prosperity

Low taxes, sound money, regulatory restraint: these were among the commonsense economic policies established by the GOP that brought about decades of prosperity after the Civil War. Republicans encouraged innovation and rule of law. Buttressed by Republican control in Congress, the McKinley, Theodore Roosevelt and Taft administrations cleared away obstacles to economic growth.

President Dwight Eisenhower and congressional Republicans appreciated the fact that the private sector, not government, is the engine of wealth creation. With his bold tax-cutting agenda, President Ronald Reagan revived the economy after years of Democrat malaise.

Party of Vision

Theodore Roosevelt embodies our Party’s traditional concern for the environment, but the Republican commitment to the environment actually goes back much further than that. For example, the world’s first national park, Yellowstone, was established during the Ulysses Grant administration.

President Eisenhower advocated groundbreaking civil rights legislation and vigorously enforced the Brown v Board of Education decision, sending the 101st Airborne to Little Rock when chaos erupted following integration at Central High.

Ronald Reagan explained the difference between Democrats and Republicans in a way that cannot be improved upon: “Two visions of the future, two fundamentally different ways of governing – their government of pessimism, fear, and limits, or ours of hope, confidence, and growth. Their government sees people only as members of groups. Ours serves all the people of America as individuals.”

President George H.W. Bush championed community and volunteer organizations and the tremendous power they have for doing good. He famously described them as “a brilliant diversity spread like stars, like a thousand points of light in a broad and peaceful sky.”

In the first decade of the 21st century, President George W. Bush made an unprecedented commitment to helping those in need beyond our shores through the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), an aid program for countries devastated by HIV/AIDS. Since its inception, PEPFAR has saved over a million lives and currently provides over 5 million people with life-saving treatments.

Party of Strength

President Reagan and President George H.W. Bush led western democracies to victory over Soviet tyranny in the Cold War. The George W. Bush administration maintained the military second-to-none and projected that power in the fight against international terrorism.

Party of the Future

Drawing inspiration from our Party’s history, today’s Republicans believe individuals, not government, make the best decisions; all people are entitled to equal rights; and decisions are best made close to home.

At the state level, the nation’s thirty Republican governors are making government more effective and efficient, spurring economic growth and striving to put more power in the hands of the people.

Nationally, Republicans recognize that the slow, bloated, top-down Washington bureaucracy is out-of-date in the 21st century. Our Party works to give Americans more choices—in healthcare, in education, in energy, and in the economy—and to free individuals and families from the intrusive overreach of federal bureaucrats.

The Party’s core principles of freedom and equal opportunity are as relevant today as at our founding, and they are the roadmap for American renewal in a new and interconnected world.[8]

The RNC lists the following notable moments in history of the GOP on their website:[7]

  • March 20, 1854

First Republican Party meeting in Ripon, Wisconsin

  • January 1, 1863

President Abraham Lincoln issues Emancipation Proclamation

  • January 31, 1865

Republican-controlled 38th Congress passes the 13th Amendment abolishing slavery

  • June 13, 1866

With unanimous Republican support and against intense Democrat opposition, Congress passes the 14th Amendment

  • March 1, 1872

Republican-controlled 42nd Congress establishes Yellowstone as first national park

  • December 9, 1872

First African-American governor, Pinckney Pinchback (R-LA), inaugurated

  • March 4, 1917

First woman in Congress, Rep. Jeannette Rankin (R-MT), sworn in

  • June 4, 1919

Republican-controlled 66th Congress passes the 19th Amendment guaranteeing women the right to vote

  • June 2, 1924

Republican-controlled 68th Congress and President Calvin Coolidge grant citizenship to Native Americans with the Indian Citizenship Act

  • December 7, 1928

First Hispanic U.S. Senator, Senator Octaviano Larrazolo (R-NM), sworn in

  • January 3, 1949

Margaret Chase Smith (R-ME) becomes the first woman to serve in both the Senate and the House of Representatives.

  • May 17, 1954

Brown v Board of Education strikes down racial segregation in public schools; majority decision written by Chief Justice Earl Warren, former Republican governor (CA) and vice presidential nominee

  • August 21, 1959

The first Asian-American U.S. Senator, Hiram Fong (R-HI), is seated

  • September 9, 1957

President Dwight Eisenhower signs the 1957 Civil Rights Act

  • June 10, 1964

Senate passes the 1964 Civil Rights Act when the Republican leader, Everett Dirksen (R-IL), defeats Democrat filibuster

  • September 25, 1981

Sandra Day O’Connor, appointed by President Reagan, becomes first woman on the Supreme Court

  • June 12, 1987

President Ronald Reagan calls for liberation of East Europeans from Communism with “Tear Down This Wall” speech

Party values

The RNC lists the following party values on their website:[9]


We believe in the power and opportunity of America’s free-market economy. We believe in the importance of sensible business regulations that promote confidence in our economy among consumers, entrepreneurs and businesses alike. We oppose interventionist policies that put the federal government in control of industry and allow it to pick winners and losers in the marketplace.

National Defense

President Ronald Reagan’s approach to America’s national defense, which successfully confronted the Soviet Union and ended the Cold War, is as essential today as it was then: Peace through strength — an enduring peace, based on freedom and the will to defend it. Today, it requires defending America’s homeland, including remaining vigilant in confronting global terrorism, maintaining a robust defense against the threats arising from nuclear proliferation, including a strong ballistic missile defense for America and our allies, and promoting an effective, capable intelligence community. It requires a full commitment to America’s Armed Forces to ensure they are modern, agile and adaptable to the unpredictable range of challenges in the years ahead. And it requires a sustained international effort, which complements our military activities, to develop and maintain alliances and relationships that will lead to greater peace and stability. While the United States participates in various international organizations which can serve the cause of peace and posterity, they must never substitute for principled American leadership nor prevent America from joining other democracies to protect our vital national interests.

Health Care

We support common-sense reforms that will lower costs, ensure quality health care that Americans deserve, and end lawsuit abuse. We oppose government-run health care, which won’t protect the physician-patient relationship, won’t promote competition, and won’t promote health care quality and choice.


We believe that maintaining a world-class system of primary and secondary education with high standards in which all students can reach their potential is critically important to America’s future. We believe parents should be empowered to send their children to the school of their choice.


We believe in energy independence. We support an “all of the above” approach that encourages the responsible production of nuclear power, clean coal, solar, wind, geothermal, hydropower, as well as drilling for oil and natural gas in an environmentally responsible way. We oppose so-called cap and trade legislation that would impose a national energy tax on families and small business that would kill jobs and raise utility prices.


Republicans believe a judge’s role is to interpret the law, not make law from the bench. Judges in our federal court system, from district courts to the Supreme Court, should demonstrate fidelity to the U.S. Constitution. We trust the judicial system to base rulings on the law, and nothing else.[8]


National leadership

Below is a list of national leaders of the Republican National Committee (RNC):[10]

Title Officer State
Chairman Reince Priebus[6] Wisconsin
Vice-Chairwoman Sharon Day[6] Florida
Treasurer Tony Parker[6] District of Columbia
Secretary Demetra Demonte[6] Illinois

Chairpersons of the RNC

Below is a historical list of past and present chairpersons of the Republican National Committee (RNC):[11]

Chairperson Term State
Edwin D. Morgan 1856-1864 New York
Henry J. Raymond 1864-1866 New York
Marcus L. Ward 1866-1868 New Jersey
William Claflin 1868-1872 Massachusetts
Edwin D. Morgan 1872-1876 New York
Zachariah Chandler 1876-1879 Michigan
J. Donald Cameron 1879-1880 Pennsylvania
Marshall Jewell 1880-1883 Connecticut
Dwight M. Sabin 1883-1884 Minnesota
B. F. Jones 1887-1888 New Jersey
Matthew S. Quay 1888-1891 Pennsylvania
James S. Clarkson 1891-1892 Iowa
Thomas H. Carter 1892-1896 Montana
Marcus A. Hanna 1896-1904 Ohio
Henry Clay Payne 1904 Wisconsin
George Bruce Cortelyou 1904-1907 New York
Harry S. New 1907-1908 Indiana
Frank Harris Hitchcock 1908-1909 Ohio
John Fremont Hill 1910-1912 Maine
Victor Rosewater 1912 Nebraska
Charles D. Hilles 1912-1916 New York
Will H. Hays 1918-1921 Indiana
John T. Adams 1921-1924 Iowa
William M. Butler 1925 Massachusetts
Hubert Work 1928-1929 Colorado
Claudius H. Huston 1929-1930 Tennessee
Simeon D. Fess 1931 Ohio
Everett Sanders 1932-1934 Indiana
Henry P. Fletcher 1934-1936 Pennsylvania
John Hamilton 1936-1937 Kansas
Joseph W. Martin, Jr. 1940-1942 Massachusetts
Bailey Walsh 1942 Tennessee
Harrison E. Spangler 1942-1944 Iowa
Herbert Brownell, Jr. 1944-1946 New York
Carroll Reece 1946-1948 Tennessee
Hugh D. Scott, Jr. 1948-1949 Pennsylvania
Guy G. Gabrielson 1949-1952 New Jersey
Arthur E. Summerfield 1952-1953 Michigan
Wesley Roberts 1953 Kansas
Leonard W. Hall 1953-1957 New York
Meade Alcorn 1957-1959 Connecticut
Thruston B. Morton 1959-1961 Kentucky
William E. Miller 1961-1964 New York
Dean Burch 1964-1965 Arizona
Ray C. Bliss 1965-1969 Ohio
Rogers C. B. Morton 1969-1971 Maryland
Robert Dole 1971-1973 Kansas
George H. W. Bush 1973-1974 Texas
Mary Louise Smith 1974-1977 Iowa
William E. Brock III 1977-1981 Tennessee
Richard Richards 1981-1983 Utah
Frank J. Fahrenkopf, Jr. 1983-1989 Nevada
Lee Atwater 1989-1991 South Carolina
Clayton Keith Yeutter 1991-1992 Nebraska
Richard Bond 1992-1993 Missouri
Haley Barbour 1993-1997 Mississippi
Jim Nicholson 1997-2001 Colorado
Jim Gilmore 2001-2002 Virginia
Marc Racicot 2002-2003 Montana
Ed Gillespie 2003-2005 Virginia
Ken Mehlman 2005-2007 Washington, D.C.
Mike Duncan 2007-2009 Kentucky
Michael Steele 2009-2011 Maryland
Reince Priebus 2011-present Wisconsin

State Chairpersons

Below is a list of state chairpersons in the Republican National Committee (RNC):[12]

State Chairperson
Alabama Bill Armistead
Alaska Peter Goldberg
Arizona Robert Graham
Arkansas Doyle Webb
California Jim Brulte
Colorado Ryan Call
Connecticut Jerry Labriola
Delaware Charlie Copeland
Florida Lenny Curry
Georgia John Padgett
Hawaii Pat Saiki
Idaho Barry Peterson
Illinois Jack Dorgan
Indiana Tim Berry
Iowa Danny Carroll
Kansas Kelly Arnold
Kentucky Steve Robertson
Louisiana Roger Villere, Jr.
Maine Rick Bennett
Maryland Diana Waterman
Massachusetts Kirsten Hughes
Michigan Robert “Bobby” I. Schostak
Minnesota Keith Downey
Mississippi Joe Nosef
Missouri Ed Martin
Nebraska J.L. Spray
Nevada Michael McDonald
New Jersey Sam Raia
New Hampshire Jennifer Horn
New Mexico John Billingsley
New York Ed Cox
North Carolina Claude Pope
North Dakota Robert Harms
Ohio Matt Borges
Oklahoma Dave Weston
Oregon Art Robinson
Pennsylvania Rob Gleason Jr.
Rhode Island Mark Smiley
South Carolina Matt Moore
South Dakota Craig Lawrence
Tennessee Chris Devaney
Texas Steve Munisteri
Utah James Evans
Vermont David Sunderland
Virginia Pat Mullins
Washington Susan Hutchison
West Virginia Conrad Lucas
Wisconsin Brad Courtney
Wyoming Tammy Hooper

Republican National Conventions

Below is a list of Republican National Conventions, for which Republican National Committee (RNC) was responsible:[13]

Year Location RNC nominee
1856 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania John C. Fremont
1860 Chicago, Illinois Abraham Lincoln
1864 Baltimore, Maryland Abraham Lincoln
1868 Chicago, Illinois Ulysses Grant
1872 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Ulysses Grant
1876 Cincinnati, Ohio Rutherford B. Hayes
1880 Chicago, Illinois James Garfield
1884 Chicago, Illinois James G. Blaine
1888 Chicago, Illinois Benjamin Harrison
1892 Minneapolis, Minnesota Benjamin Harrison
1896 St. Louis, Missouri William McKinley
1900 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania William McKinley
1904 Chicago, Illinois Theodore Roosevelt
1908 Chicago, Illinois William Howard Taft
1912 Chicago, Illinois William Howard Taft
1916 Chicago, Illinois Charles Evan Hughes
1920 Chicago, Illinois Warren G. Harding
1924 Cleveland, Ohio Calvin Coolidge
1928 Kansas City, Kansas Herbert Hoover
1932 Chicago, Illinois Herbert Hoover
1936 Cleveland, Ohio Alfred Landon
1940 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Wendell Willkie
1944 Chicago, Illinois Thomas Dewey
1948 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Thomas Dewey
1952 Chicago, Illinois Dwight Eisenhower
1956 San Francisco, California Dwight Eisenhower
1960 Chicago, Illinois Richard Nixon
1964 San Francisco, California Barry Goldwater
1968 Miami Beach, Florida Richard Nixon
1972 Miami Beach, Florida Richard Nixon
1976 Kansas City, Kansas Gerald Ford
1980 Detroit, Michigan Ronald Reagan
1984 Dallas, Texas Ronald Reagan
1988 New Orleans, Louisiana George H. W. Bush
1992 Houston, Texas George H. W. Bush
1996 San Diego, California Bob Dole
2000 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania George W. Bush
2004 New York, New York George W. Bush
2008 St. Paul, Minnesota John McCain
2012 Tampa, Florida Mitt Romney

2016 elections

Presidential nominating calendar

On January 24, 2014, the RNC voted to move the Republican nominating convention to an earlier date in the summer of 2016. The old calendar traditionally held the convention in late August of presidential years. The newly approved rule change will adjust it to June or July of 2016. Additionally, the rule change is attempting to cut the length of the primary calendar. Instead of a January to June primary schedule, the RNC is pushing states to adopt a February to May season.[14]

2014 elections


In a memo released in October 2013, RNC spokesman Sean Spicer outlined the strategy the organization would be taking in the 2014 midterm elections. Excerpts included:

  • "The lesson from 2012 is we must have a permanent ground game. We must engage with voters year-round in their communities, especially in Hispanic, African American and Asian Pacific communities."
    • In their first radio ads of the 2014 cycle, the organization ran Spanish, Vietnamese and Korean versions.[15]
  • "So, while in the past, we may have measured the RNC’s success by the amount of cash we had piled up three months before Election Day, that will no longer be the case. We’re investing that money now and will continue to do so."[16]

January 2014 ad

The RNC released their first radio ads of the 2014 cycle in early January. Following the lead of other conservative organizations targeting vulnerable Democrats over the issue of the Affordable Care Act, the ads used the following template:

"President Obama and [Senator/Representative] said if you like your insurance plan you can keep it under Obamacare. They lied to you. 2014 is your chance to hold [Senator/Representative] accountable. Tell him this is one New Year’s resolution you’re sticking to."[17]

Clinton documentary

Vote to ban NBC, CNN from debates

On August 16, 2013, the RNC voted unanimously to pull the group’s partnership with NBC and CNN for the 2016 GOP presidential primary debates unless the networks killed their planned films on Hillary Clinton.[18]

“We don't have time for the media's games,” RNC Chairman Reince Priebus said before the vote at the 2013 RNC summer meeting in Boston, “We’re done putting up with this nonsense. There are plenty of other news outlets.”[18]

The RNC called the planned films “political favoritism” and accused NBC and CNN of airing “programming that amounts to little more than extended commercials promoting former Secretary Clinton.” The networks both canceled their planned documentaries.[18]

See also

External links

Suggest a link

Additional reading