Ronna McDaniel, the current chair of the Republican National Committee, told the Washington Examiner on Wednesday she likely has enough votes to secure a fourth term as GOP leader later this month — despite some recent support defections.
McDaniel touted the written support of 30-plus states for her campaign, which would easily account for more than the 51% needed to clinch a fourth term as RNC chairwoman.
“The members of the RNC who are grassroots volunteers and are elected and really understand what the RNC does, I have the vast majority of support,” McDaniel told the Examiner. “I have two-thirds of their support with their names in writing on a letter.”
At least three known states, according to the Examiner, have pledged to back a different candidate in the Jan. 27 RNC election: Arizona, Texas, and Alabama.
McDaniel’s approval ratings with the various states might have been higher during the summer and early fall. But things seemingly started wavering after the Republicans failed to claim the Senate majority during the November midterms, and merely possessed a razor-thin margin of nine seats in the House chamber (222-213).
There might also be some lingering rancor from President Donald Trump’s defeat to Joe Biden in the 2020 general election — on McDaniel’s watch.
As a counter, McDaniel reasoned the RNC was not to blame for the Republicans’ lackluster showing in the recently completed midterms.
“You need the road and the car to get to your destination,” McDaniel told the Examiner. “We built the road. The candidates are the cars and it takes both, and I’m not candidate bashing.
“The RNC doesn’t pick the candidates; the voters do. We don’t do the messaging for the campaigns. That’s up to each individual candidate. But if you look at what the RNC is responsible for, which is turning out the vote, 3 million more Republicans turned out than Democrats,” McDaniel added.
Later in the Examiner interview, McDaniel explained, “this is a thing where continuity in a chairmanship helps create a long-term vision. You don’t turn over the reins of a billion-dollar corporation every two years and have success.
“How do we engage communities that we are not showing up in enough, and it’s not just, ‘Can we get your vote?’ … This has been the initiative that has driven me, and it’s my passion, but I think it’s long-term. We have to keep that investment in these communities,” McDaniel said.
McDaniel’s most formidable challenge for the RNC chair will likely come from Harmeet Dhillon, a lawyer, GOP official, and former vice chairwoman of the California Republican Party.
Dhillon also has a prior professional relationship with former President Trump, which could bolster her RNC candidacy among states in the Midwest, Southeast, and Plains regions.
Home Depot co-founder and major GOP donor Bernie Marcus endorsed Dhillon for RNC chair Wednesday, saying “she’s a fighter in our courts, in the media, & elsewhere. The RNC needs someone with her real-world experience, tenacity, & toughness.”
For Dhillon to unseat McDaniel, she will need 85 of the 168 votes cast.
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