Conceding that the RNC was widely outmaneuvered by the Democrats last year, the 41-year-old is moving briskly to roll out what many consider the party's most aggressive campaign operation to date, especially so early in an election cycle.
The RNC has dispatched nearly 150 active campaign operatives across the country, a number that it says will more than double by the end of the year. To Virginia, the RNC has assigned five Asian field staff—of Indian, Vietnamese, Korean and Filipino descent—to help target voters in this year's governor's race, more than Mitt Romney had devoted to Asian voters in the state at the peak of his campaign.
That the former Wisconsin party boss still has his perch is itself unusual. No national head of either party in the modern era has retained that seat after a loss in the presidential election. Some now expect him to keep the job through the 2016 election, which would make him the longest-serving GOP chairman in nearly 30 years.
Picked to head the party in 2011, Mr. Priebus defends the group's lackluster showing last year by pointing out that he inherited an organization with just 80 employees, $26 million in debt "and two credit cards that were both suspended for nonpayment."
The chairman has poured most of his energies into raising money—he said he spends five hours a day on donor calls—and into building out the party's infrastructure, including an aggressive, state-by-state outreach to minority voters.
The party has now cleared away its debts while raising $40 million this year through June, compared with $31 million raised by the DNC, which still owes $18 million to creditors, according to federal election records. The GOP ended June with $7 million more in cash than the Democrats had, the federal records show.