Following a heated election that was sparked by calls for new leadership within the party, Ronna McDaniel was elected to a fourth term as the chairwoman of the Republican National Committee (RNC) on Friday by a secret ballot vote of the members.
McDaniel defeated two opponents, including MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell and California attorney Harmeet Dhillon, who vehemently disputes the outcome of the 2020 presidential election. She garnered 111 votes, compared to Dhillon’s 51 and Lindell’s 4. Additionally, former Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY), who ultimately decided against running for RNC head, garnered one vote.
#BREAKING | Ronna McDaniel wins 4th term as RNC chair.@GOPChairwoman pic.twitter.com/cNBGoWqcP4
— El American (@ElAmerican_) January 27, 2023
Republicans’ performance in the last three elections has been disappointing: In 2018, they lost the House; in 2020, they lost the Senate and the White House; and in 2022, they only managed to gain a slim majority in the House. Since McDaniel headed the RNC during the previous three elections, many in the party pointed to the midterm elections in November of last year as justification for choosing new leadership.
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In her brief remarks, McDaniel assured the RNC committee members that while promoting unity within the party, she had heard the worries of those who had voiced disapproval in the wake of the November elections.
“All of us are necessary. We have heard you, populace. We are aware. Mike Lindell and Harmeet were both audible. To cheers from the audience, she remarked, “But with us unified and all of us going together, the Democrats are going to hear us in 2024 when we take back the White House and the Senate.
Even though it was expected that the incumbent would prevail, there were still tensions inside the party.
Top Republicans including Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Senate Minority Leader, and former President Trump chose not to take a position. However, others jumped in, like Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who said in an interview with Charlie Kirk, the president of the right-leaning Turning Point USA, that “I think we need to have some new blood in the RNC.”
“I agree with Harmeet Dhillon’s comments on moving the RNC out of Washington, D.C. Why would you choose to locate your headquarters in the American city with the highest Democrat vote? Compared to San Francisco, it is more Democratic, he continued.
Only 29 state chairs and RNC committee members were listed as endorsing Dhillon on her campaign website, which noted that it was only a “partial list.” In the meantime, McDaniel received support from over 150 Republican donors in the leadership campaign, and some senators, including Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.), backed the incumbent.
Scott wrote on Twitter that the “[email protected] has played a vital role in helping turn Florida red and fighting for conservative ideals across the country.” “Thank you Ronna for all you’ve done to support the Sunshine State’s electing great Republicans!”
McDaniel has defended her time at the RNC, asserting that the way Republicans fared in the November midterm elections was not her fault. “The coach is not me. The voters choose the players, not I. In an interview with Semafor that was published earlier this month, she stated, “I don’t call the plays; the candidates choose their own plays.
“I mean, in 2018, we broke all the rules by winning three Senate seats in a midterm election year. In addition, she observed at the time, “this year we won back the House after picking up 15 seats in the House in 2020, which was unprecedented.
Dhillon and some party members weren’t persuaded, insisting that the GOP could have had more successful election cycles. The RNC election comes after a divisive House Speaker contest in which Speaker Kevin McCarthy (Calif.) was chosen in the 15th ballot by a group of Republicans who had split from the rest of the caucus. In a post on his Truth Social, Trump congratulated McDaniel on her victory and wrote, “Congratulations to Ronna McDaniel on her huge WIN as RNC CHAIR.”
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