Republican National Committee
FoundedJune 1856; 168 years ago
Key people
AffiliationsRepublican Party

The Republican National Committee (RNC) is the primary committee of the Republican Party of the United States. Its members are chosen by the state delegations at the national convention every four years.[3] It is responsible for developing and promoting the Republican brand and political platform, as well as assisting in fundraising and election strategy.[4] It is also responsible for organizing and running the Republican National Convention. When a Republican is president, the White House controls the committee. According to Boris Heersink, "political scientists have traditionally described the parties' national committees as inconsequential but impartial service providers."[5][6]

Similar committees exist in every U.S. state and most U.S. counties, although in some states party organization is structured by congressional district, allied campaign organizations being governed by a national committee. Michael Whatley is the current committee chairman.[7]

The Democratic Party's counterpart to the RNC is the Democratic National Committee.


The 1856 Republican National Convention appointed the first RNC. It consisted of one member from each state and territory to serve for four years. Each national committee since then has followed the precedent of equal representation for each state or territory, regardless of population. From 1924 to 1952, there was a national committeeman and national committeewoman from each state and U.S. possession, and from Washington, D.C. In 1952, committee membership was expanded to include the state party chairs of states that voted Republican in the preceding presidential election, have a Republican majority in their congressional delegation (U.S. representatives and senators), or have Republican governors. By 1968, membership reached 145. As of 2011, the RNC has 168 members.[8]

While a number of the chairs of the RNC have been state governors, the only person to have chaired the RNC and later become U.S. president is George H. W. Bush. During Bush's time as RNC chair, Spiro Agnew was being investigated for corruption, which would later lead to Agnew's resignation as vice president. Bush assisted, at the request of Nixon and Agnew, in getting John Glenn Beall Jr., the U.S. Senator from Maryland, to pressure his brother, George Beall the U.S. Attorney in Maryland, to shut down the investigation into Agnew. Attorney Beall ignored the pressure.[9]

In 2013, the RNC began an outreach campaign towards the American youth and minority voters, after studies showed these groups generally perceived that the Republican Party did not care about their concerns.[10]

During the presidency of Donald Trump, the RNC showed staunch loyalty to President Trump, even at times when prominent Republicans did not. Under Ronna McDaniel's leadership, the RNC ran ads for Trump's 2020 campaign as early as 2018, put numerous Trump campaign workers and affiliates on the RNC payroll, spent considerable funds at Trump-owned properties, covered his legal fees in the Russian interference investigation, hosted Trump's Fake News Awards, and criticized Trump critics within the Republican Party.[11] Two days after the January 6th riot at the Capitol following the controversial 2020 presidential election results, the RNC held an event where members expressed loyalty to the President.[12]

In February 2022, the RNC censured two Republican representatives, Liz Cheney of Wyoming and Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, for their participation in the United States House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6 Attack on the US Capitol; the censure statement described the committee as a "Democrat-led persecution of ordinary citizens who engaged in legitimate political discourse."[13] The censure of sitting congressmembers, and particularly the description of the January 6 events as "legitimate political discourse", received bipartisan criticism from politicians and media.[14][15]


The Republican National Committee's main function is to assist the Republican Party of the United States. It helps to promote the Republican political platform and the "party brand" or image. It helps coordinate fundraising and election strategy.

It is also responsible for organizing and running the Republican National Convention.

According to Jim Nicholson, a former chairman of the Republican National Committee:

“The party can’t coordinate with these Super PACs and neither can the campaigns so there’s a lot more chaos . . . .And the party structure clearly has a diminished role because they don’t have the resources they used to have.”[16]


This section needs expansion with: is the committee itself the entire organization or is their paid staff and volunteers, what is the internal structure and subcommittees if any, how is the election of committee members and its leadership and other officers structured, what are the relationships to state and county committees. You can help by adding to it. (January 2021)

The current chair of the Republican National Committee is Michael Whatley, since March 8, 2024. Whatley was previously chair of the North Carolina Republican Party from 2019 to 2024.[17][18]

The previous chair of the Republican National Committee was Ronna McDaniel, serving from 2017 to 2024. McDaniel was chair of the Michigan Republican Party from 2015 to 2017.[19]

In January 2019, Thomas O. Hicks Jr. was elected co-chairman of the RNC. Hicks has a strong connection to former President Trump's campaigns and policy initiatives, having served as chairman of the America First Action PAC and America First Policies, and as national finance co-chairman for Donald J. Trump for President.[19]

Similar committees to the RNC exist in each U.S. state and most U.S. counties. The RNC also organizes volunteer groups for specific interests, such as the Black Republican Activists, GOP Hispanics, RNC Women (not to be confused with National Federation of Republican Women), GOP Faith, Asian Pacific Americans, Young Leaders and Veterans & Military Families.[19]

Other national leaders


Chairs of the Republican National Committee

List of Republican National Committee Chairs
# Chair Term State[20]
1 Edwin Morgan 1856–1864 New York
2 Henry Raymond 1864–1866 New York
3 Marcus Ward 1866–1868 New Jersey
4 William Claflin 1868–1872 Massachusetts
5 Edwin Morgan 1872–1876 New York
6 Zachariah Chandler 1876–1879 Michigan
7 Donald Cameron 1879–1880 Pennsylvania
8 Marshall Jewell 1880–1883 Connecticut
9 Dwight Sabin 1883–1884 Minnesota
10 Benjamin Jones 1884–1888 New Jersey
11 Matthew Quay 1888–1891 Pennsylvania
12 James Clarkson 1891–1892 Iowa
13 William Campbell[21][22][23] 1892 Illinois
14 Thomas Carter 1892–1896 Montana
15 Mark Hanna 1896–1904 Ohio
Henry Payne (Acting) 1904 Wisconsin
16 George Cortelyou 1904–1907 New York
17 Harry New 1907–1908 Indiana
18 Frank Hitchcock 1908–1909 Ohio
19 John Hill (Acting: 1909–1911) 1909–1912 Maine
20 Victor Rosewater 1912 Nebraska
21 Charles Hilles 1912–1916 New York
22 William Willcox 1916–1918 New York
23 Will Hays 1918–1921 Indiana
24 John Adams 1921–1924 Iowa
25 William Butler 1924–1928 Massachusetts
26 Hubert Work 1928–1929 Colorado
27 Claudius Huston 1929–1930 Tennessee
28 Simeon Fess 1930–1932 Ohio
29 Everett Sanders 1932–1934 Indiana
30 Henry Fletcher 1934–1936 Pennsylvania
31 John Hamilton 1936–1940 Kansas
32 Joseph Martin 1940–1942 Massachusetts
33 Harrison Spangler 1942–1944 Iowa
34 Herbert Brownell 1944–1946 New York
35 Carroll Reece 1946–1948 Tennessee
36 Hugh Scott 1948–1949 Pennsylvania
37 Guy Gabrielson 1949–1952 New Jersey
38 Arthur Summerfield 1952–1953 Michigan
39 C. Wesley Roberts 1953 Kansas
40 Leonard Hall 1953–1957 New York
41 Meade Alcorn 1957–1959 Connecticut
42 Thruston Morton 1959–1961 Kentucky
43 William Miller 1961–1964 New York
44 Dean Burch 1964–1965 Arizona
45 Ray Bliss 1965–1969 Ohio
46 Rogers Morton 1969–1971 Maryland
47 Bob Dole 1971–1973 Kansas
48 George H. W. Bush 1973–1974 Texas
49 Mary Smith 1974–1977 Iowa
50 Bill Brock 1977–1981 Tennessee
51 Dick Richards 1981–1983 Utah
Paul Laxalt (General Chair) 1983–1987 Nevada
52 Frank Fahrenkopf (National Chair) Nevada
Frank Fahrenkopf 1987–1989 Nevada
53 Lee Atwater 1989–1991 South Carolina
54 Clay Yeutter 1991–1992 Nebraska
55 Richard Bond 1992–1993 Missouri
56 Haley Barbour 1993–1997 Mississippi
57 Jim Nicholson 1997–2001 Colorado
58 Jim Gilmore 2001–2002 Virginia
59 Marc Racicot 2002–2004 Montana
60 Ed Gillespie 2004–2006 Virginia
61 Ken Mehlman 2006–2007 District of Columbia
Mel Martínez (General Chair) 2007 Florida
62 Mike Duncan (National Chair) Kentucky
63 Michael Steele 2009–2011 Maryland
64 Reince Priebus 2011–2017 Wisconsin
65 Ronna Romney McDaniel 2017–2024 Michigan
66 Michael Whatley 2024–present North Carolina


1993 election

Candidate Round 1 Round 2 Round 3
Haley Barbour 60 66 90
Spencer Abraham 47 52 57
Bo Callaway 22 19 18
John Ashcroft 26 20 Withdrew
Craig Berkman 10 8 Withdrew
  Candidate won majority of votes in the round
  Candidate secured a plurality of votes in the round
  Candidate withdrew

1997 election

Candidate Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Round 4 Round 5 Round 6
Jim Nicholson 23 30 38 65 74 *
David Norcross 41 46 47 50 47 Withdrew
Steve Merrill 42 42 43 46 43 Withdrew
John S. Herrington 4 4 3 3 Withdrew -
Tom Pauken 22 24 21 Withdrew -
Chuck Yob 17 18 12 Withdrew -
Robert T. Bennett 15 Withdrew
  Candidate won majority of votes in the round
  Candidate secured a plurality of votes in the round
  Candidate withdrew

2009 election

Main article: 2009 Republican National Committee chairmanship election

On November 24, 2008, Steele launched his campaign for the RNC chairmanship with the launching of his website.[24] On January 30, 2009, Steele won the chairmanship of the RNC in the sixth round, with 91 votes to Dawson's 77.[25]

Source: CQPolitics,[26] and Poll Pundit.[27]

Candidate Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Round 4 Round 5 Round 6
Michael Steele 46 48 51 60 79 91
Katon Dawson 28 29 34 62 69 77
Saul Anuzis 22 24 24 31 20 Withdrew
Ken Blackwell 20 19 15 15 Withdrew -
Mike Duncan 52 48 44 Withdrew
  Candidate won majority of votes in the round
  Candidate secured a plurality of votes in the round
  Candidate withdrew

On announcing his candidacy to succeed RNC Chairman Duncan, former Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael Steele described the party as being at a crossroads and not knowing what to do. "I think I may have some keys to open the door, some juice to turn on the lights," he said.[28]

Six people ran for the 2009 RNC Chairmanship: Steele, Ken Blackwell, Mike Duncan, Saul Anuzis, Katon Dawson and Chip Saltsman. After Saltsman's withdrawal, there were only five candidates during the hotly contested balloting January 30, 2009.

After the third round of balloting that day, Steele held a small lead over incumbent Mike Duncan of Kentucky, with 51 votes to Duncan's 44. Shortly after the announcement of the standings, Duncan dropped out of contention without endorsing a candidate.[29] Ken Blackwell, the only other African-American candidate, dropped out after the fourth ballot and endorsed Steele, though Blackwell had been the most socially conservative of the candidates and Steele had been accused of not being "sufficiently conservative." Steele picked up Blackwell's votes.[30] After the fifth round, Steele held a ten-vote lead over Katon Dawson, with 79 votes, and Saul Anuzis dropped out.[31] After the sixth vote, he won the chairmanship of the RNC over Dawson by a vote of 91 to 77.[32]

Mississippi Governor and former RNC chair Haley Barbour has suggested the party will focus its efforts on congressional and gubernatorial elections in the coming years rather than the next presidential election. "When I was chairman of the Republican National Committee the last time we lost the White House in 1992 we focused exclusively on 1993 and 1994. And at the end of that time, we had both houses of Congress with Republican majorities, and we'd gone from 17 Republican governors to 31. So anyone talking about 2012 today doesn't have their eye on the ball. What we ought to worry about is rebuilding our party over the next year and particularly in 2010," Barbour said at the November 2008 Republican Governors conference.[33]

2011 election

Main article: 2011 Republican National Committee chairmanship election

Chairman of the Republican National Committee Reince Priebus at the Western Republican Leadership Conference in October 2011 in Las Vegas

Michael Steele ran for re-election at the 2011 RNC winter meeting.[34] Other candidates were Reince Priebus, Republican Party of Wisconsin Chairman, Ann Wagner, former Ambassador to Luxembourg, Saul Anuzis, former Republican Party Chairman of Michigan, and Maria Cino, former acting Secretary of Transportation under George W. Bush. Steele's critics increasingly called on him to step down as RNC Chair when his term ended in 2011. A debate for Chairman hosted by Americans for Tax Reform took place on January 3 at the National Press Club.[35][36] The election for Chairman took place January 14 at the RNC's winter meeting with Reince Priebus winning on the seventh ballot after Steele and Wagner withdrew.

Candidate Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Round 4 Round 5 Round 6 Round 7
Reince Priebus 45 52 54 58 67 80 97
Saul Anuzis 24 22 21 24 32 37 43
Maria Cino 32 30 28 29 40 34 28
Ann Wagner 23 27 32 28 28 17 Withdrew
Michael Steele 44 37 33 28 Withdrew
  Candidate won majority of votes in the round
  Candidate secured a plurality of votes in the round
  Candidate withdrew

2013–2023 elections

Priebus won re-election with near unanimity in the party's 2013 meeting in Charlotte, North Carolina.[37] He was re-elected to a third term in 2015, setting him up to become the longest serving head of the party ever.[38]

After winning in November 2016, President-elect Donald Trump designated Priebus as his White House Chief of Staff, to begin upon his taking office in January 2017; David Bossie of Maryland was seen as a potential next RNC chairman.[39]

Trump then recommended Ronna Romney McDaniel as RNC Chairwoman and she was elected to that role by the RNC in January 2017. McDaniel was re-elected in 2019 and 2021.[40] Mike Lindell announced that he would challenge McDaniel in 2023. Lindell accused McDaniel of not denying the legitimacy of the 2020 presidential election forcefully enough, and criticized her for presiding over the RNC during three disappointing election years.[41] McDaniel was re-elected in to a fourth term in January 2023, easily defeating Lindell and California RNC committeewoman Harmeet Dhillon.[42]

Candidate Round 1
Ronna McDaniel 111
Harmeet Dhillon 51
Mike Lindell 4
Lee Zeldin 1

  Candidate won majority of votes in the round

2024 election

On February 6, 2024, The New York Times reported that McDaniel intended to resign after the South Carolina Republican presidential primary held on February 24, 2024, following dissatisfaction from former president Donald Trump, who publicly supported North Carolina Republican Party chair Michael Whatley.[43][44]

McDaniel confirmed these reports when, on February 26, 2024, she and Drew McKissick announced their resignations as chair and co-chair of the RNC effective on March 8, 2024.[45] Later that same day, Micheal Whatley, chair of the North Carolina Republican Party, announced that he would seek the position of RNC chair.

Lara Trump, daughter-in-law of former president Donald Trump, also announced on February 28 that she would seek to succeed McKissick as co-chair of the RNC.[46] Both Whatley and Trump gained the endorsement of former President Trump.

Whatley and Trump were both elected via acclamation as chair and vice-chair of the Republican National Committee on March 8, 2024.

Candidate Round 1
Michael Whatley Acclamation
Candidate Round 1
Lara Trump Acclamation

Current Republican National Committee members

A collapsible list of the voting members of the Republican National Committee follows, as of March 2024.[47] The state chair, national committeeman and national committeewoman each receive one vote at RNC meetings and vote for RNC Chairmanship.

State Chairperson Committeeman Committeewoman
Alabama John Wahl Paul Reynolds Vicki Drummond
Alaska Ann S. Brown Craig Campbell Cynthia Henry
American Samoa Will Sword Frank Barron Amata Radewagen
Arizona Gina Swoboda Tyler Bowyer Lori Klein Corbin
Arkansas Joseph Wood Jonathan Barnett Mindy McAlindon
California Jessica Patterson Shawn Steel Harmeet Dhillon
Colorado Dave Williams Randy Corporon Vera Ortegon
Connecticut Ben Proto John H. Frey Leora Levy
Delaware Julianne Murray Hank McCann Mary McCrossan
District of Columbia Patrick Mara José Cunningham Ashley MacLeay
Florida Evan Power Peter Feaman Kathleen King
Georgia Josh McKoon Jason Thompson Ginger Howard
Guam Juan Carlos Benitez Eddie Baza Calvo Shelly Gibson
Hawaii Tamara McKay [d] Gene Ward Laura Nakanelua
Idaho Dorothy Moon Bryan Smith Cindy Siddoway
Illinois Don Tracy Richard Porter Demetra DeMonte
Indiana Vacant John Hammond Anne Hathaway
Iowa Jeff Kaufmann Steve Scheffler Tamara Scott
Kansas Mike Brown Mark Kahrs Kim Borchers
Kentucky Robert Benvenuti John McCarthy KC Crosbie
Louisiana Louis Gurvich Roger Villere Lenar Whitney
Maine Joel Stetkis Joshua Tardy Ellie Espling
Maryland Nicole Harris David Bossie Nicolee Ambrose
Massachusetts Amy Carnevale Ron Kaufman Janet Fogarty
Michigan Vacant Robert Steele Kathy Berden
Minnesota David Hann Alex Plechash Barb Sutter
Mississippi Frank Bordeaux Henry Barbour Jeanne C. Luckey
Missouri Nick Myers Gordon Kinne Carrie Almond
Montana Don Kaltschmidt Art Wittich Debra Lamm
Nebraska Eric Underwood J.L. Spray Fanchon Blythe
Nevada Michael McDonald James DeGraffenreid Sigal Chattah
New Hampshire Chris Ager Bill O'Brien Juliana Bergeron
New Jersey Bob Hugin Bill Palatucci Virginia Haines
New Mexico Steve Pearce Jim Townsend Tina Dziuk
New York Ed Cox Joseph G. Cairo Jr. Jennifer Rich
North Carolina Susan Mills (acting) Ed Broyhill Kyshia Brassington
North Dakota Sandra Sanford Shane Goettle Lori Hinz
Northern Mariana Islands Diego Benavente Edward Deleon Guerrero Irene Holl
Ohio Alex Triantafilou Jim Dicke Jo Ann Davidson
Oklahoma Nathan Dahm Steve Curry Pam Pollard
Oregon Justin Hwang Solomon Yue Jr. Tracy Honl
Pennsylvania Lawrence Tabas Andy Reilly Christine Jack Toretti
Puerto Rico Angel Cintrón Luis Fortuño Zoraida "Zori" Fonalledas
Rhode Island Joe Powers Steve Frias Sue Cienki
South Carolina Drew McKissick Glenn McCall Cindy Costa
South Dakota John Wiik Ried Holien Sandye Kading
Tennessee Scott Golden Oscar Brock Beth Campbell
Texas Matt Rinaldi Robin Armstrong Toni Anne Dashiell
US Virgin Islands Gordon Ackley Jevon Williams Antionette Gumbs-Hecht
Utah Robert Axson Brad Bonham Anne-Marie Lampropoulos
Vermont Paul Dame Jay Shepard Suzanne Butterfield
Virginia Rich Anderson Morton Blackwell Patti Lyman
Washington Jim Walsh Jeff Kent Marlene Pfiefer
West Virginia Matt Herridge Larry Pack Beth Bloch
Wisconsin Brian Schimming Tom Schreibel Maripat Krueger
Wyoming Frank Eathorne Corey Steinmetz Nina Webber

Para Bellum Labs

In February 2014, during the chairmanship of Reince Priebus, the RNC launched an in-house technology incubator called Para Bellum Labs.[48] This new unit of the RNC was first headed by Azarias Reda, an engineer with a PhD in computer science from the University of Michigan. The effort is designed to help the party and its candidates bridge the technology gap. Para Bellum, translated from Latin, means "prepare for war."[49]

Federal "pay-to-play" investigation

In September 2019, McDaniel emailed Doug Manchester, whose nomination to become Ambassador to the Bahamas was stalled in the Senate, asking for $500,000 in donations to the Republican Party. Manchester responded, noting that his wife had given $100,000 and that his family would "respond" once he was confirmed by the Republican-led Senate to the ambassadorship. Manchester copied the email to aides of two U.S. senators whose support he needed to win confirmation. CBS News described McDaniel's action as a "possible pay-for-play scheme" for the ambassadorship.[50][51] The San Diego Union-Tribune reported in May 2021 that a federal grand jury had issued a subpoena in a criminal investigation into Manchester's nomination, apparently focused on the RNC, McDaniel and RNC co-chair Tommy Hicks, "and possibly members of Congress". The Union-Tribune reported the investigation began in 2020.[52]

See also


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  2. ^ Isenstadt, Alex (November 5, 2021). "RNC names Duke Buchan new finance chair as Ricketts steps down". Politico. Archived from the original on January 29, 2023. Retrieved January 28, 2023.
  3. ^ "At the national convention, each of the parties formally chooses a national committee, elected by the individual state parties." Steffen W. Schmidt, Mack C. Shelley, Barbara A. Bardes 'American Government and Politics Today (Cengage Learning 2021) p 167.
  4. ^ Heersink, Boris (2021). "Examining Democratic and Republican National Committee Party Branding Activity, 1953–2012". Perspectives on Politics. 21: 142–159. doi:10.1017/S1537592721000025. ISSN 1537-5927. S2CID 233646493. Archived from the original on 2021-03-24. Retrieved 2021-03-23.
  5. ^ Boris Heersink, "Trump and the party-in-organization: Presidential control of national party organizations." Journal of Politics 80.4 (2018): 1474–1482.
  6. ^ Cornelius P. Cotter, and Bernard C. Hennessy, eds. Politics without Power: The National Party Committees (1964) excerpt Archived 2021-10-14 at the Wayback Machine.
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  9. ^ "Transcript – Episode 4: Turn It Off". NBC News. Retrieved 2023-05-14.
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  11. ^ Heersink, Boris (July 25, 2018). "Trump and the Party-in-Organization: Presidential Control of National Party Organizations". The Journal of Politics. 80 (4): 1474–1482. doi:10.1086/699336. ISSN 0022-3816. S2CID 158762949.
  12. ^ Martin, Jonathan (January 9, 2021). "In Capital, a G.O.P. Crisis. At the R.N.C. Meeting, a Trump Celebration". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Archived from the original on January 13, 2021. Retrieved January 13, 2021.
  13. ^ Metzger, Bryan (February 4, 2022). "RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel says January 6 committee is a 'Democrat-led persecution of ordinary citizens who engaged in legitimate political discourse'". Business Insider. Archived from the original on February 8, 2022. Retrieved February 8, 2022 – via MSN.
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  22. ^ "Campbell Will Not serve..." The New York Times. July 6, 1892. Archived from the original on February 22, 2014. Retrieved September 9, 2013.
  23. ^ "Campbell Picks His Nine..." The New York Times. July 8, 1892. Archived from the original on February 22, 2014. Retrieved September 9, 2013.
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  28. ^ Cillizza, Chris (November 13, 2008). "Michael Steele to Run For RNC Chair". The Fix. The Washington Post. Archived from the original on November 2, 2011. Retrieved February 12, 2009.
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  38. ^ Preston, Mark (January 16, 2015). "Priebus overwhelmingly elected to third term as RNC chairman". CNN. Archived from the original on June 28, 2016. Retrieved June 25, 2016. Priebus was elected Friday in a resounding vote to serve a third term as chairman of the Republican National Committee, putting him on course to become the longest serving head of the national party in history.
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  43. ^ "Ronna McDaniel, R.N.C. Chairwoman, Plans to Step Down". 2024-02-07. Retrieved 2024-03-13.
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  47. ^ "RNC Members". Republican National Committee. Retrieved August 28, 2023.
  48. ^ O'Connor, Patrick (4 February 2014). "RNC Tries to Lure Tech Talent". The Wall Street Journal. Archived from the original on 14 April 2016. Retrieved 4 August 2017. The RNC Tuesday is announcing the formation of Para Bellum Labs, an in-house technology incubator that combines the committee's data-analytics arm with its digital-marketing unit.
  49. ^ Johnson, Eliana (February 12, 2014). "RNC's Data Push Greeted with Skepticism". National Review. Archived from the original on January 2, 2017. Retrieved November 6, 2015. the RNC last week unveiled Para Bellum Labs — para bellum is Latin for 'prepare for war' — an initiative designed to help the party and its candidates bridge the technology gap
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  52. ^ "Manchester's political contributions, ambassador nod are subject of criminal probe". San Diego Union-Tribune. May 15, 2021. Archived from the original on 2021-05-16. Retrieved 2021-05-16.

Further reading