A pair of state GOP leaders are backing Ronna McDaniel’s bid to win another term as chairwoman of the Republican National Committee (RNC) days before the organization votes.
Wisconsin Republican Party Chairman Brian Schimming and Vermont Republican Party Chairman Paul Dame each announced their support for McDaniel late Tuesday and Wednesday in the latest signal that McDaniel is poised to fend off a challenge from Harmeet Dhillon at this week’s RNC winter meeting.
“As a new Chairman, I took the time to fully evaluate the candidates running for RNC Chair. After multiple conversations about what the Party needs to focus in 2024 across the country and specifically in Wisconsin, I have come to the conclusion that Ronna McDaniel is the best person for the job,” Schimming said in a statement.
Dame, in a lengthy statement, explained that he spoke in December with McDaniel, Dhillon, Lee Zeldin — the former New York congressman who ultimately decided against a run for RNC chair — and several other Republicans. MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell is also running for chair, though his bid has gained little traction.
“When I get a chance to engage with them, I find that we want the same things; we want to unite, we want to innovate, and we want to win. And for those reasons, I believe that Ronna McDaniel is the best person to accomplish the task,” Dame said.
Dame acknowledged that the 2022 election results, where Republicans fell short of expectations in recapturing a small House majority and lost one seat in the Senate, were not what anyone in the party had hoped for. But he questioned whether Dhillon was better equipped to position the party for success in future elections, and he criticized some of the negative campaigning that has taken place in the RNC leadership race.
“Ronna is the uniter that we need, and she has run her campaign and run our organization in a way that proves she can work with anyone,” Dame said. “Whether she personally wins or loses we all know that the party will survive. It’s unfortunate that her opponent is making the case that we are all doomed if Ronna wins again.”
Both Schimming and Dame are state party chairs, meaning they are eligible to vote for RNC leader during Friday’s elections. McDaniel is seeking a fourth term, and Dhillon has mounted the most serious challenge to her.
McDaniel needs to win the support of only a majority of the RNC’s 168 members to secure another term, while Dhillon or Lindell will need the support of at least two RNC members in three different states or territories to even get on the ballot. Each state and territory has three RNC members: the state party chair and two committee members.
McDaniel previously circulated a letter boasting the support of more than 100 RNC members, giving her a sizable cushion from the 84 she would need to win reelection. More than 150 donors also wrote to RNC members last week backing McDaniel’s candidacy.
A handful of state parties and some high-profile conservatives have called for McDaniel’s ouster, arguing it is time for a change atop the national party as the GOP aims to recapture the White House and Senate in 2024.
Her critics have noted the GOP lost the House in 2018, lost the White House and Senate in 2020 and underperformed against expectations in 2022, all cycles during which McDaniel led the RNC. They have also pointed to high travel costs to question McDaniel’s spending priorities as chairwoman.