RNC Leader Fighting to Keep Her Job This Week

Ronna McDaniel expects to survive secret ballot for party's national committee
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jan 23, 2023 1:50 PM CST
RNC Leader Fighting to Keep Her Job This Week
Attorney Harmeet Dhillon is vying to become leader of the RNC.   (AP Photo/Eric Risberg, File)

By week's end, the Republican National Committee is set to resolve a leadership feud that has exposed divisions within the party, per the AP. Those inside the fight believe the days ahead of Friday's secret ballot could get even uglier as rebel forces within former President Trump's MAGA movement threaten to upend RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel's reelection bid. The attacks have been led by McDaniel's chief rival, Harmeet Dhillon, a Trump attorney who has accused the incumbent of chronic misspending and privately claiming she can control the former president—allegations McDaniel denies.

Also in the race is My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell, a pro-Trump conspiracy theorist who secured enough support to qualify for the ballot. Trump hasn't made a public endorsement, but he and his team are privately advocating for McDaniel, whom he tapped for the position shortly after his 2016 victory. Still, many Trump loyalists blame McDaniel, the niece of Utah Sen. Mitt Romney, for some of the party's recent struggles. Dhillon insists that the overwhelming majority of Republican voters want a leadership change at the RNC. She warned of serious political consequences for any of the committee’s 168 elected members who support McDaniel’s reelection.

“For those members of the party who vote not with what the people in their state want but with what their own self-interest is, the next time they’re up for election, it’s going to be an issue,” Dhillon said. Apprised of Dhillon’s statement, McDaniel said, “That sounds like a threat.” She condemned the attacks against her and the divisions plaguing the committee. “There’s nobody who’s enjoyed this more than Democrats," she said. "I know, because I love it when they’re fighting each other." The AP's sources say Trump would endorse McDaniel if asked, but McDaniel's team believes she will win without his public backing, allowing her to maintain a sense of neutrality heading into the 2024 presidential primary season.

(More Ronna McDaniel stories.)

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