Raising money is the core of Priebus’ job — he spends, he said, between 60% and 65% of his time raising money — and he is exceptionally good at it: He outraised the Democrats in 2012, and raised $188.8 million in the 2014 cycle. And the money he raises is, he said, “the golden money. It’s the type-O blood of politics. Anyone can use it, there’s a limited supply, but it’s the universal blood of politics here at the RNC.”
Because of complex laws around coordination, the resources the Republican National Committee buys can be used and reused, passed around among Republican campaigns. Soft-money groups cannot share and coordinate like this. So instead of going to war with deep-pocketed outsiders like the Koch brothers, Priebus has found a role in their ecosystem. When it comes to data, for instance, the committee has — through an arrangement involving a new private company — essentially made itself the partner of a Koch-backed data company, i360, initially seen as a rival.
Priebus asks only that big donors make that golden money their first contribution, then they’re free to head off to the super PACs. And he has absorbed from his third round of calling donors before a big election that “as chair of the party, for our national party, 2016 is the most important election we’ve had.”