Ron DeSantis endorses challenger ahead of RNC chair election following midterms disaster

·2 min read

Gov Ron DeSantis of Florida is backing a challenger to Republican National Committee (RNC) chair Ronna McDaniel in the upcoming RNC election.

In an interview with Charlie Kirk, Mr DeSantis said that he is backing Harmeet Dhillon to take the helm of the national committee.

“I think we need a change,” Mr DeSantis said. “I think we need to get some new blood in the RNC.”

Mr Kirk is also supporting Ms Dhillon, as are influential conservative media personalities like Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham. The election is set to take place on Friday.

Mr DeSantis was not kind in his review of Ms McDaniel’s results as RNC chair in further comments about the race, tagging all three of the national elections she has led the Republican committee into as disappointments.

“We’ve had three substandard election cycles in a row: ‘18, ‘20, and ‘22 — and I would say of all three of those, ‘22 was probably the worst given the political environment of a very unpopular president in Biden,” Mr DeSantis said.

“Huge majorities of the people think the country is going in the wrong direction,” Mr DeSantis continued. “That is an environment that is tailor-made to make big gains in the House and the Senate and state houses all across the country, and yet that didn’t happen — and in fact, we even lost ground in the Senate.”

Mr DeSantis said that he liked Ms Dhillon’s proposal to relocate the RNC’s headquarters from its current home in Washington, DC, a city that Mr DeSantis noted is even more heavily Democratic than San Francisco.

Ms McDaniel, a niece of Sen Mitt Romney of Utah, is targeting a fourth cycle at the top of the RNC despite widespread frustration with the Republican performance in the midterm election. The party failed to retake control of the Senate and only narrowly won back the House, with many in the party blaming a weak roster of Senate candidates endorsed by former President Donald Trump.

Mr Trump and Mr DeSantis appear to be on a collision course in the 2024 presidential primary, with Mr DeSantis leading the former president in select early state polls.

Mr DeSantis has in recent days been advocating for fresh blood in the party, while continuing to garner news media coverage for his far right policies attacking free speech in Florida schools, teachers, voting rights, and transgender Floridians. Mr Trump has not made an endorsement in the RNC contest.