Republicans voted Friday to reelect Ronna McDaniel to lead the party’s national committee, doubling down on the agenda that led them to underperform in the midterm elections.
Incumbent McDaniel won 111 votes, while Harmeet Dhillon won 51. They also faced off against Mike Lindell, the founder of MyPillow and wild conspiracy theorist, who won four votes.
A total of 101 RNC members endorsed McDaniel in October for another two-year term. She sought to cast herself as a solid leader who could unite the GOP’s warring factions. Under her leadership, the RNC spent at least $20 million trying to thwart Democrats’ attempts to make voting easier during the pandemic. She also shared an RNC-sponsored video containing falsehoods about voter fraud ahead of the 2022 midterms.
McDaniel is staunchly loyal to Trump, who has been widely blamed for Republicans’ poor performance during the November elections. Despite the lack of a promised “red wave” at the time, the GOP endorsing her for RNC chair shows the former president still holds considerable sway over the party.
Dhillon, on the other hand, tried to capitalize on the growing dissatisfaction with Trumpism. A lawyer, Dhillon insists she is not an election denier, but she has represented several in court, including failed Arizona gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake and Trump himself.
Dhillon ran a complicated campaign, trying to highlight both her ties to Trump’s MAGA message and her independence from the party establishment. Her campaign manager also organized the January 6, 2021, rally that turned into the Capitol insurrection. But Dhillon also said she had not sought either Trump’s or Desantis’s endorsement, playing to the party activists demanding new leadership.
It seems her strategy did not pay off.