A key policy and fundraising arm of the Republican party has elected a new leader, as the Republican National Committee voted on Friday.

Wisconsin's Reince Priebus, 38, the chairman of his state's party gained the win with 97 votes of 168. It took seven rounds of voting for Priebus to cross the 85 vote majority needed to win.

Departing chairman Michael Steele dropped out after the fourth round, stating that he would step aside because I think the party is ready for something different.

The RNC had fallen into more than $20 million in debt.

Other candidates included Maria Cino, with who once held a cabinet position in the Bush administration for two years as acting transportation secretary and Saul Anuzis, a former head of Michigan's arm of the RNC.