Jae C. Hong/AP
DANAPOINT, Calif. — Republican National Committee Chairman Ronna McDaniel won a bid Friday to lead the Republican Party for another two years, highlighting a bitter internal division that threatens to plague the party next presidential season. I won the election that I did.
McDaniel, whom Donald Trump nominated as RNC chairman in 2016, won the secret ballot 111-51. The high-profile election took place inside a luxurious resort on the Southern California coast as his 168 voting member of the RNC. 50 States – Gathered for the Commission’s Annual Winter Meeting.
A relieved McDaniel invited his rival to the stage immediately after the results were announced.
“With us united and all of us working together, the Democrats will hear us in 2024,” she declared.
The victory makes McDaniel the longest-serving RNC chairman since the Civil War. But her friends and enemies alike agree that she has no intention of leading her RNC from her position of power.
“The party is not united,” McDaniel’s chief rival, Trump attorney Hermit Dillon, told reporters in the hallway shortly after standing alongside McDaniel on stage. No one will unite around the party as it seems.”
In fact, while Trump unofficially endorsed McDaniel, a powerful force in his Make America Great Again campaign lined up behind Dillon.
Dillon put up an aggressive challenge to McDaniel, backed by conservative media MAGA leaders. Dillon featured allegations of chronic overspending, mismanagement, and even religious prejudice against Dillon’s Sikh faith, all of which McDaniel denied. Among other things, the lawsuit against McDaniel centers on deep dissatisfaction with the party’s direction after consecutive election losses since Trump chose her to head the committee following a turbulent 2016 victory. was
After Dillon’s loss was announced, conservative activist Charlie Kirk said members who voted for McDaniel were “responsible,” citing the overwhelming desire for change in the Republican base.
“The RNC disrespects voters. ‘They basically just put up the middle finger.'”
McDaniel won, but some of her supporters privately admitted to being open to changing the leadership of the committee after three consecutive disappointing elections. But there were certain concerns about Dillon and those around her.
California Republicans are working closely with former Trump fundraiser Caroline Wren, who was involved in fundraising for a Jan. 6, 2021 Washington rally, ahead of the violent attack on the Capitol. cooperated.
Dillon’s main deputy at this week’s RNC meeting was failed Arizona gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake, who popularized claims that voter fraud had been exposed. Lake courted his RNC members on Dillon’s behalf inside the conference hotel.
From afar, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, a likely 2024 presidential candidate, also spoke out against McDaniel on the eve of the vote.
“I think there needs to be change. I think there needs to be new blood in the RNC,” DeSantis said in an interview with Florida’s Voice after three “subpar election cycles going on” under McDaniel’s leadership. said.
Meanwhile, Trump has quietly endorsed McDaniel, the niece of Republican Utah Senator Mitt Romney, and sent a handful of deputies to Southern California to defend on her behalf.
According to people with direct knowledge of the circumstances, who spoke on condition of anonymity to describe the private conversation, the former president avoided giving public endorsements at McDaniel’s request. We were able to maintain a sense of neutrality heading into the 2024 presidential primary because we were confident that Daniel would win without public support.
According to its rules, the RNC must remain neutral in presidential primaries. Trump is the only GOP nominee announced so far, but expect other high-profile candidates in the coming months.
McDaniel is currently set to lead the RNC through the 2024 election. Under her leadership, the commission manages much of the presidential nomination process, including debates and voting calendars, while managing the vast national infrastructure designed to elect Republican presidents.
Also in Friday’s race was MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell, a pro-Trump conspiracy theorist who received four votes.
Lindell, who already backs Trump’s 2024 campaign, said he wouldn’t change his mind if Friday’s broad bid succeeds.
“I have never failed to support Donald Trump,” Lindell said. “I will never leave that space.”