In a year when it should have made a strong showing, the Republican Party fielded embarrassing candidates, suffered a humiliating defeat in the presidential election and lost seats in the House and Senate. After a debacle like this, someone ought to be held accountable.
In any sensible political party this would be seen as a failure in leadership and heads would roll at the top. This is especially true when the party's top leaders went out of their way to alienate minority groups within the party and trample all over party rules at the national convention, unseating legitimately elected delegates, disenfranchising the Republican voters of several states and passing new rules which reduce the autonomy of state parties.
Despite all of the evidence that the party is rotten at the very top and the cries of rank and file party members for change and reform, sitting Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus has been claiming that he has already received pledges from as many as 130 of the 168 national committee members to support him for a second term. Supporters of the status quo have been circulating intimidating emails trying to get all of the members to toe the line and support Priebus, but a small minority of committee members have been listening to grassroots party members who are crying out for Priebus to pay the price for his corruption and incompetence.
Out of that group, one leader has emerged who is willing to take Priebus and the party establishment on, Mark Willis. Willis is a first term committeeman from Maine, a member of the Republican Liberty Caucus and has a diverse background in military intelligence and tech industry. Willis also led a walkout protest by the Maine delegation at the Republican National Convention this summer and gained a lot of credibility among the grassroots as a result.
The campaign for party chairman isn't like a regular political campaign. It's very quick, wrapping up in about two weekes, and is all about winning over a small number of committee members and state party chairs, half of whom are picked by party insiders in their state and half of whom are elected by party members. Just getting nominated is the first hurdle, requiring 2 out of 3 votes from 3 different states. But once you get nominated all bets are off and allegiances and vote pledges can change very quickly all the way to a series of votes at the committee meeting on the 25th where deals are made in backrooms, hallways and restrooms until a new Chairman is selected.