Ronna McDaniel, chair of the Republican National Committee, was re-elected on Friday. This brings an end to nearly two months worth of accusations and barbs in a major fight for future GOP leadership.
McDaniel was supported by 111 members of the committee who cast ballots in secret ballot voting for the chair. This is more than the majority required to secure a fourth term of two-years at the RNC. It’s a rare feat in modern times. This vote was taken at the end of the RNC’s Winter Meeting, which took place in Orange County. Lee Zeldin (ex-New York gubernatorial candidate), received one vote. He had considered running, but was not nominated for the race.
Harmeet Dhillon from California, her main challenger, was defeated by the chair. She won support from 51 members of the committee. Mike Lindell, MyPillow CEO, was a strong supporter for former President Donald Trump’s unproven claims of rigging the 2020 presidential election. He ran a long-shot campaign for chair and received just 4 votes.
As the GOP elected its leader, the RNC showdown became a bitter family feud. As the GOP seeks to regain control of the House and the White House, the drama unfolded. It was also a time when the party is trying to rebound after a disappointing showing at November’s midterm elections, and as it discusses the future and Trump’s grip on the GOP.
Dhillon, who lost her election, said that the party would be “better for the difficult conversations that were desperately required about how to reform RNC to win elections, earn the trust and respect of our donors, voters, and activists.”
She also pledged to work with RNC and grassroots organizers heading into the 2024 elections.
Charlie Kirk, the leader of the conservative advocacy group TurningPoints USA, was disappointed by McDaniel’s win.
Harmeet Dhillon, a member of the RNC committee, calls for a leadership change at the RNC in her bid to be the national party chair.
McDaniel was the Michigan GOP chair, Trump’s choice to lead the committee following his 2016 win. He was re-elected in 2019 and 2021. McDaniel advocated stability, while Dhillon was a Trump legal advisor and ran an insurgent campaign insisting that change was necessary following the Republican Party’s poor performance in 2022 midterms. Many in the GOP believed this would be a red-wave election.
McDaniel spoke out in a national interview before the vote to say that RNC members trust his leadership and that they understand this is a crucial, pivotal moment that we cannot downgrade the RNC’s infrastructure and be successful in 2024.
McDaniel was a prolific fundraiser during her time as chairwoman of the committee. McDaniel’s staff claims that McDaniel has raised a record $1.5billion during her tenure as chairwoman. She also traveled over half a million miles, and hosted more than 330 donor events.
However, McDaniel’s electoral setbacks in November, when Republicans failed to win the Senate, and lost key gubernatorial elections, along with 2018 when the party lost its House majority, and 2020 when it lost control over the Senate, have sparked calls for a change in leadership.
The highly anticipated election was approaching, and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, one of the most beloved Republicans, spoke out on the matter. Ron DeSantis called on “change” and encouraged “new blood” to the RNC. Dhillon was the conservative governor, who has seen his standing among conservatives in the country rise over the past three year.
Trump, the GOP’s most influential and popular politician and the only major contender to run a 2024 presidential election, was neutral. He said he liked McDaniel as well as Dhillon.