McDaniel wins re-election as RNC chairman in controversial election

Ronna McDaniel won a fourth term to lead the Republican National Committee (RNC) in a secret ballot by members on Friday, capping a contentious election spurred by calls within the party for new leadership.

McDaniel rejected two challengers: California attorney Harmeet Dhillon and MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell, a staunch denier of the 2020 presidential election results.

He received 111 votes, while Dhillon received 51 and Lindell received four. Former Representative Lee Zeldin (RN.Y.), who ultimately did not run for president of the NCR, also received one vote.

The last three elections have been disappointing for Republicans: the party lost the House in 2018, lost the Senate and the presidency in 2020, and won only a narrow House majority in 2022. Many in the party cited the election in mid-term last November as a reason to elect fresh blood, as McDaniel has overseen the RNC during the last three elections.

McDaniel, in brief remarks, told RNC committee members he had listened to the concerns of those voicing criticisms in the wake of the November election, while also projecting unity within the party.

“We need all of us. We heard you, base. We know. We’ve heard Harmeet, we’ve heard Mike Lindell. But with us united and all together, the Democrats will listen to us in 2024 when we take back the White House and the Senate,” he said to applause in the room.

Although the incumbent was expected to win, the race was another example of intra-party tensions.

Some senior Republicans, like former President Trump and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.), have avoided the weigh-in during the race. But others entered, including Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who told Charlie Kirk, the founder of conservative Turning Point USA, in an interview that aired Thursday, “I think we need to have some new blood in the RNC.”

“I like what Harmeet Dhillon said about eliminating the NCR from DC Why would you want to be headquartered in the most democratic city in America? It’s more democratic than San Francisco is,” she added.

Dhillon’s campaign website offered the names of only 29 state presidents and RNC committee members who supported her, noting that it was a “partial list”.

Meanwhile, more than 150 Republican donors have backed McDaniel in the race for the leadership, and some lawmakers, like Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.), have also backed the incumbent.

[email protected] has played a huge role in helping turn Florida red and fighting for conservative values ​​across the country,” Scott tweeted. “Thank you Ronna for everything you’ve done to help elect strong Republicans in the Sunshine State!”

McDaniel defended his RNC tenure, arguing he was not responsible for the way Republicans performed in November’s midterm.

“I’m not the coach. I don’t choose the players, the voters do. I don’t call plays, applicants pick their own plays,” he told Semafor in an interview published earlier this month.

“I mean, we defied history in 2018, winning three Senate seats in a year in between. We got 15 seats in 2020 in the House, which is unprecedented, and then this year, winning back the House,” he also noted at the time.

But Dhillon and some party members remained unconvinced, arguing the GOP could have had better election cycles. The RNC election follows a contentious race for Speaker of the House, which saw a group of Republicans split from the rest of the caucus before electing California Speaker Kevin McCarthy on the 15th ballot.

Trump cheered McDaniel’s victory in a post on his Truth Social, writing, “Congratulations to Ronna McDaniel on her great WIN as RNC CHAIR.”

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