Michael Steele has won the election to be chairman of the Republican National Committee, becoming the first African-American to lead the party.
Mr Steele won in the sixth ballot, with 91 votes out of a possible 168. His nearest rival, Katon Dawson, received the remaining 77 votes.
Correspondents say Mr Steele was the most moderate of the five candidates who stood for the position.
The favourite, incumbent chairman Mike Duncan, pulled out after two rounds.
“We're going to say to friend and foe alike, we want you to be a part of us, we want you to with be with us, and for those who wish to obstruct, get ready to get knocked over,” said Mr Steele in his acceptance speech.
He rose to prominence in 2006 when he stood for a senate seat in Maryland. He had previously served as the state's Lieutenant Governor.
After his senate defeat, he served as the chairman of GOPAC, a conservative political action committee.
As chairman of the Republican National Committee, Mr Steele will be in charge of overseeing the party's campaigning efforts nationwide.
He fought for the position on a platform of rebranding the party and finding ways to use new technology to connect with the conservative grassroots.
Mr Duncan had been the favourite to win the election, but dropped out after receiving fewer votes than expected in the first two rounds of voting.