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Posted at 6:00 PM ET, 01/14/2011

Afternoon Fix: Reince Priebus elected Republican National Committee chairman; Chris Christie to headline NRCC fundraising dinner

By Felicia Sonmez

Wisconsin Republican Party Chairman Reince Priebus is the new chairman of the Republican National Committee; New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) will headline the NRCC's spring fundraising dinner; and Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) says he's gearing up for a tea party-backed challenger.

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* Wisconsin Republican Party Chairman Reince Priebus has been elected chairman of the Republican National Committee. Priebus led on every ballot but picked up steam once Michael Steele bowed out and threw his support behind former RNC official Maria Cino after the fourth round of balloting.

* Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R) is facing criticism after telling the state NAACP to "kiss my butt" over his decision not to attend the group's state Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebrations this weekend. "I'm not gonna be held hostage by any special interest," said LePage, who also has an adopted a son from Jamaica. "And if they want, they can look at my family pictures The fact of the matter is, there [are] only so many hours in the day, so many hours in the week and so much that you can do."

* National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman John Cornyn (Texas) jokingly dismissed Sen. Jim DeMint's (R-S.C.) efforts to influence on the Texas Senate race. "Is that guy from Texas?" Cornyn said when asked of DeMint's role in the race.

* House Republicans have tapped New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) to headline their annual spring fundraising dinner at the National Building Museum in March.


* Nineteen senators and a handful of House members are backing a plan for members of both parties to sit side-by-side at this month's State of the Union address, with House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) today becoming the highest-ranking House Republican to back the plan. How many others will follow suit?

* Former Sen. Arlen Specter's (D-Pa.) chief of staff, Scott Hoeflich, has joined the Washington office of IKON Public Affairs as a senior associate. Hoeflich had served as chief of staff to Specter since 2006 and first joined Specter's office as an intern in 1999.

* In an interview with Bloomberg TV set to air this weekend, Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) says he's gearing up for a 2012 challenge from a tea party rival. "I anticipate that there will be a candidate or candidates running in the Republican primary against me," Lugar says, adding that he's "taken a very early campaign stance of vigorous fundraising, vigorous campaigning, anticipating that that kind of a campaign might occur."

* House Republicans' annual retreat continues this weekend in Baltimore. Will Priebus kick off his chairmanship with a surprise appearance?


There's an app for cat.

With Felicia Sonmez and Aaron Blake

By Felicia Sonmez  | January 14, 2011; 6:00 PM ET
Categories:  Afternoon Fix  
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