Washington (CNN) - Calling for a "need to unify the RNC," Wisconsin GOP Chairman Reince Priebus officially jumped in the crowded race to replace Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele on Monday.
"For me, being State Chairman isn't a title – it's a mission," Priebus wrote in an email to committee members and provided to CNN. "As Chairman of the RNC, I will assume that same laser focus. Less drama, more hard work, more results and more focus on winning. That is my pledge to you and I humbly ask for your support."
Also Monday, Priebus filed papers with the IRS forming a 527 committee - "Reince for RNC Chairman" - allowing him to raise and spend money on his campaign.
Priebus had been one of Steele's top lieutenants on the committee until recent weeks, when some RNC members disgruntled with Steele's leadership began approaching him about seeking the job. Priebus resigned his post as RNC General Counsel over the weekend.
Party insiders supporting Priebus believe he can put together a coalition of old guard RNC members and Steele loyalists to move the committee past the chairman's divisive tenure.
He enters an already crowded field as a frontrunner for the post. Others pursuing bids include Michigan Committeeman Saul Anuzis, former Missouri GOP Chairwoman Ann Wagner, former RNC Chairman Mike Duncan, former RNC Political Director Gentry Collins, former Bush administration official Maria Cino and Connecticut GOP Chairman Chris Healy.
Steele has not announced his plans. Former Minnesota Sen. Norm Coleman has said he will not challenge Steele if the chairman decides to seek another term, but he is keeping his name in the mix.
RNC members will elect their next chairman in mid-January.
Read the Letter:
Dear Fellow RNC Members,
After careful consideration, prayer and encouragement from many, I have decided to run for RNC Chairman.
The RNC must be at its best during this next election cycle. There is too much at risk for our Party and, more importantly, for our country. That is why I am running for Chairman.
It is not just Republicans that have a lot at stake. This next election is about the entire direction of our country. Our country cannot afford a second term of President Obama and Democrat control of the U.S. Senate and possibly the House. Fortunately, our victories in 2010 put us in a position to put a stop to the Obama Administration's liberal agenda. We must capitalize on the 2012 election cycle in order to get our country back on the right track. However, this won't happen without significant changes at the RNC.
It is not just about fundraising. It is not just about communicating our message. It is not just about standing up for our conservative values and Party Platform. It is not just about putting together successful victory programs. It must be all those things to win in 2012.
As Chairman of the Wisconsin GOP, I did all those things and more. We built coalitions. We brought in Tea Party activists and we worked well together. I assembled and led an exceptional team in Wisconsin. We recruited good conservative candidates who are reflective of the GOP Young Guns sweeping our country. We raised the money needed for victory.
In this historic election, Wisconsin Republicans also achieved tremendous success. And the Party was an integral part of victory in all of our campaigns. Simply put, Wisconsin enjoyed one of the biggest Republican victories in the country and we flipped just about everything from blue to red.
When I took over as Chairman we started with just about nothing and now we just celebrated arguably the greatest Republican victory in the history of our state.
I will run a tight ship at the RNC. I will keep expenses low. I will put in strong and serious controls. We will raise the necessary funds to make sure we are successful. We will work to regain the confidence of our donor base and I will personally call our major donors to ask them to rejoin our efforts at the RNC.
I will continue to maintain and build good relationships with RNC Membership, House and Senate Republican Leadership, Republican Governors and all Republicans from the grassroots, local and national levels.
I will promote our Party Platform. As a fiscal and social conservative, I strongly support our Party's core principles. I will fight for our Party and work to strengthen and grow it.
We need to unify the RNC. This campaign for RNC Chairman is about all of us. I plan to run a "member-to-member" campaign. And I will come out and see as many of you as I can personally. Together we can bring back strong leadership at the RNC and continue to help change the direction of our country.
I thought hard about whether now was the time to run. My mother was born in Sudan and my father was a union electrician. They both taught me to be honest and that nothing was more important than faith in God and working hard. I grew up in Wisconsin where the Republican Party was born.
My wife, Sally, and I met in high school and our first date was a Lincoln Day Dinner! We have two young children – Jack (5) and Grace (9 months). America's future is their future too. I want you to know Sally and the kids are on board and will move with me to Washington for the two-year term so that we can do this as a family.
For me, being State Chairman isn't a title – it's a mission. As Chairman of the RNC, I will assume that same laser focus. Less drama, more hard work, more results and more focus on winning. That is my pledge to you and I humbly ask for your support.