Reelected GOP Chair Says This Term Is Her Last

Vote on Ronna McDaniel reflected divisions in party leadership
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jan 27, 2023 2:31 PM CST
Updated Jan 28, 2023 12:40 PM CST
Ronna McDaniel Fends Off Challenge, Remains GOP Chair
Republican National Committee chairman Ronna McDaniel.   (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara, File)
UPDATE Jan 28, 2023 12:40 PM CST

After winning reelection by a divided Republican National Committee, Chair Ronna McDaniel said she won't do that again. "This is my last term as chair," McDaniel told Fox News, adding, "It's done." McDaniel said she wants to continue her work on voter registration and minority outreach, saying the accomplishments were historic. "We need to continue that and do that in this next election," she said Friday. "And then I'm happily going to pass the gavel to somebody else."

Jan 27, 2023 2:31 PM CST

Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel won her bid Friday to lead the GOP for two more years, prevailing in an election that highlighted fierce internal divisions that threaten to plague the party into the next presidential season. McDaniel, whom Donald Trump tapped as RNC chair in 2016, won the the secret ballot vote 111 to 51, per the AP. The high-profile election played out inside a luxury resort on the Southern California coast as the RNC’s 168 voting members—activists and elected officials from all 50 states—gathered for the committee’s annual winter meeting.

With the victory, McDaniel becomes the longest-serving RNC chair since the Civil War. Yet friends and foes alike agree that she will not be leading the RNC from a position of strength. While Trump privately backed McDaniel, powerful forces from within his “Make America Great Again” movement lined up behind McDaniel’s chief rival, Trump attorney Harmeet Dhillon. Dhillon waged an aggressive challenge against McDaniel that featured allegations of chronic misspending, mismanagement, and even religious bigotry against Dhillon's Sikh faith—all claims that McDaniel denied.

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Above all, the case against McDaniel centered on deep dissatisfaction with the direction of the party after continuous election losses since Trump tapped her to lead the committee following his upset 2016 victory. Before the vote, McDaniel pleaded with RNC members to put their differences aside after it was over. “Coming together is the beginning. Staying together is progress. But working together is success,” she said. “We have to come together after this meeting and focus on what we have ahead of us.” (More Ronna McDaniel stories.)

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