Former Trump campaign legal adviser announces challenge to Ronna McDaniel for RNC chair

A former Trump campaign attorney announced on Monday that she would challenge Ronna McDaniel for head of the Republican National Committee (RNC), citing GOP losses requiring an overhaul of party leadership.

Harmeet Dhillon, a California attorney who is also an RNC committee member, made her announcement official on Fox News’s “Tucker Carlson Tonight.”

“Republicans are tired of losing, and I think that that we really need to radically reshape our leadership in order to win,” Dhillon told host Tucker Carlson. “We can’t keep running elections like we did in the ’90s and the 2000s, and we really have to modernize to compete with the Democrats dollar for dollar in the ways they fundraise, the way they deliver their ballots to the ballot boxes.”

She also added the need to revamp messaging to be “fresh and positive and not just reactive to news cycles and what the Democrats are doing.”

Dhillon’s entrance to the race marks the second challenger to McDaniel’s leadership, after MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell announced his campaign for RNC chair on former Trump strategist Stephen Bannon’s podcast last week.

Meanwhile, Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-N.Y.) has indicated he is considering challenging McDaniel after an unsuccessful campaign for New York governor

Dhillon served as a legal adviser to former President Trump’s campaign in 2020 in which she advocated for the Supreme Court to step in and intervene in the results, specifically calling out Trump-nominated Justice Amy Comey Barrett to “come through.”

Dhillon’s challenge to McDaniel, who has served in the role since January 2017 after Reince Priebus left the position to become Trump’s first White House chief of staff, comes as Republicans continue to point fingers over who is to blame for what some have called an underperformance in the 2022 midterm elections, in which Democrats retained a narrow majority in the Senate and Republicans came away with a House majority that was far slimmer than forecasted.

In a statement to The Hill, A spokesperson with the McDaniels re-election campaign said 107 committee members have endorsed the current chairwoman’s re-election bid, putting her above the majority she’ll need to be re-elected to her position.

“Ronna McDaniel has grown our Party from the grassroots up: from building a permanent national ground game and establishing a year-round Election Integrity operation to expanding minority outreach and transferring more funds than ever to all 56 states and territories,” North Carolina Republican Party Chairman Michael Whatley said in a statement.

“I am proud to join the nearly two-thirds of RNC members in endorsing her re-election and I look forward to working alongside her to strengthen our Party and country for the next two years,” his statement added.

This story was updated at 10:39 a.m.

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