- The Washington Times - Sunday, December 11, 2022

Ronna McDaniel has pledges of support from 108 of the 168 Republican National Committee members voting in next month’s chairmanship race — but RNC insiders say a fourth term for Mrs. McDaniel isn’t a done deal.

New Jersey Republican National Committeeman Bill Palatucci told The Washington Times that Mrs. McDaniel is in a strong position, but his experience tells him things could change.

RNC members are experts at looking you in the eye and saying, ‘Oh I am with you’ and in a secret ballot going into the voting booth and slitting your throat,” Mr. Palatucci said after Herschel Walker lost the Georgia Senate race. “So I take all that stuff with a grain of salt.”

After Mr. Walker’s loss and the “red wave” that never materialized, Mrs. McDaniel‘s GOP opponents in the RNC say it is time for new leadership.

Tennessee RNC Committeewoman Beth Campbell announced Saturday on her Twitter account that she and RNC Committeeman Oscar Brock at their state meeting “addressed the RNC elections, which will be held in January … There is overwhelming support for Leadership change on the RNC.”

Ms. Campbell tweeted that she had not received “one call or email” in support of Mrs. McDaniel. “My voters want change.”

SEE ALSO: Lee Zeldin passes on run for RNC chair, urges Ronna McDaniel to step aside for new leadership

Republicans managed to eke out a narrow majority in the House but could not win back the Senate two years after former President Donald Trump failed to win reelection.

“This RNC member says the devastating loss in Georgia means we need a new RNC Chair,” Mr. Palatucci tweeted the night Mr. Walker lost.

Mrs. McDaniel is facing two opponents so far next month, RNC California Committeewoman Harmeet Dhillon, and MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell.

Ms. Dhillon has been raking up influential support among RNC members since her announcement on Fox News Channel’s “Tucker Carlson Tonight” over a week ago.

She was endorsed Saturday by longtime RNC member Morton Blackwell of Virginia, the president of the conservative Leadership Institute.

“As Republican National Committeeman for Virginia, I support Harmeet Dhillon for Chair of the Republican National Committee,” Mr. Blackwell wrote. “She has a long and successful record as a leader for conservative principles at the state and national levels.”

SEE ALSO: Voter surge in Georgia can’t stop suppression claims

Mr. Blackwell praised Ms. Dhillon in a series of tweets as “a capable and competent attorney who has successfully intervened at the national and state levels on behalf of party committees and Republican candidates, even when the RNC would not act.”

He described her as a “reliable spokesperson” for the GOP perspective, calling her a “star” and a Wonder Woman for the party.

“Thank you to the grassroots conservatives who have reached out to me about the RNC Chairman’s race. It’s time for a change,” he said.

After Mr. Blackwell’s endorsement, Vermont Republican National Committeeman Jay Shepard tweeted, “I am the Republican National Committeeman for Vermont and I will be joining Morton Blackwell and voting for Harmeet Dhillon.”

The Republican Party of Texas on Saturday night, in a no-confidence vote rejection of Mrs. McDaniel, urged State Chair Matt Rinaldi, National Committeeman Dr. Robin Armstrong and National Committeewoman Toni Anne Dashiell “to pay heed to the profound dissatisfaction with the RNC and to vote for an alternative to replace Chairwoman McDaniel.”

The Texas resolution passed just two days after the executive committee of the Arizona Republican Party unanimously passed a resolution calling for Mrs. McDaniel’s resignation, citing what they felt was a failure to support some out-of-the-mainstream Republicans in races across the country, among other issues.

The McDaniel team, however, says her supporters are unwavering.

“Chairwoman McDaniel’s decision to run for reelection was member-driven,” spokesperson Emma Vaughn told The Washington Times. “Members of the 168 rallied around the chairwoman because of her unprecedented investments in the grassroots, election integrity, and minority communities, and for taking on Big Tech and the biased Commission on Presidential Debates.” 

Nebraska Republican Party Chairman Eric Underwood praised Mrs. McDaniel for her work in his state. 

“Our conversations have been centered around efforts for party growth at the local level, increasing engagement with the younger generation, and a renewed focus on our conservative principles. It is apparent to me that Ronna has dedicated her time and energy to building the party and she believes in working together to promote a big Republican tent,” he said.

Her re-election campaign cited outside endorsements from Republican Rep.-elect Monica de La Cruz of Texas, Republican Rep. Tony Gonzalez of Texas, Republican Rep. Michelle Steel of California, conservative radio show host Hugh Hewitt, former Trump White House counselor Kellyanne Conway, former Arizona GOP Senate candidate Blake Masters, Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares, former RNC Chair Reince Priebus and Susan B. Anthony List President Marjorie Dannenfelser. 

Mrs. Steel’s husband Shawn Steel, California Republican Party chairman, also endorsed Mrs. McDaniel and said she is “championing the grassroots and investing in unprecedented minority outreach from California to New York.”

“Growing the Party with emergent communities such as conservative minded Asian Americans is crucial,” he said.

A source familiar with the chair’s campaign for reelection said supporters circulated an updated endorsement letter with more names of RNC members who are supporting her. That new total puts her at about two-thirds of the 168 — well above the majority she needs to be reelected.

“Support for the chairwoman has only grown since her announcement and she looks forward to speaking with each and every member to discuss how the party can continue building upon our investments and make the necessary improvements to compete and win in 2024,” Ms. Vaughn said.

• Seth McLaughlin can be reached at smclaughlin@washingtontimes.com.

• Kerry Picket can be reached at kpicket@washingtontimes.com.

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