Priebus's allies have pushed back hard, accusing Ruedrich of disingenuousness. When Wagner served as chairman of the Missouri Republican Party, she received $8 million in RNC transfers, Illinois Republican Party chairman Pat Brady told RNC members in response. "Your attack against Reince is ludicrous and disingenuous. He did an outstanding job raising money in [Wisconsin], and I am sure Ann did the same in [Missouri]," Brady wrote. "Stop the petty attacks; it's a waste of everyone's time."
(Members are using figures gleaned from Federal Election Commission reports, meaning they are only calculating federal dollars raised. State parties can raise money to be used for non-federal purposes that have to be reported through state-based agencies; reporting requirements and contribution limits vary by state)
The heated rhetoric comes as candidates acknowledge openly that Priebus is the front-runner, and as more begin to believe incumbent chairman Michael Steele has no path to victory.
Priebus has 34 publicly-committed votes, twice the number Steele can claim, according to the latest Hotline whip count, while Wagner and former Michigan Republican Party chairman Saul Anuzis stand at 14 votes apiece and former Bush administration official Maria Cino has 10 voters on her side. A candidate needs 85 votes to win the chairmanship.
Anuzis has faced less criticism of his fundraising performance during the campaign. In an ironic twist, the fact that Anuzis's state favored President Obama by a wide margin in 2008 is actually working in his favor.
Sen. John McCain's campaign pulled out of Michigan relatively early that year. McCain's team had only invested about $650,000 in Michigan by the time he decided the state was a lost cause, while the RNC spent just $1.2 million in the state in 2008, according to reports filed with the FEC.
Those reports show Anuzis raised $16.6 million in federal dollars during his four years as chairman of the Michigan party, and that $2.3 million of that money came from the national party or McCain's campaign.