“Frankly,” he said, “I don’t think it’s possible to get a two-thirds majority to replace her.”
Lori Hinz, the national committeewoman from North Dakota who also opposed McDaniel’s reelection campaign, said she has heard from grassroots activists in her state who are unhappy with McDaniel’s leadership. But Hinz also acknowledged that the battle seems lost in advance.
“There is definitely frustration with repeated losses. I think everyone in the party feels that,” Hinz said. But what can the committee do to change things? “It’s entirely up to Ronna. It’s his decision. In general, it doesn’t flex very well with outside sources.
McDaniel’s fate at the RNC has long been a subject of fascination, in part because she is the longest-serving chairwoman in more than a century. She survived the friction with Trump and the previous bad election nights. But the situation she faces is now growing and threatens to add a layer of uncertainty to the Republican Party’s campaign operations, even as the general election season draws closer.
While several presidential candidates have been unhappy with the thresholds set by the RNC for debate qualifications — whether they are too high or too low — Trump and his allies have registered an entirely different set of complaints. The ex-president pressed McDaniel to cancel the debates altogether and devote more resources to election integrity efforts, according to two people briefed on the conversations. Trump allies say the former president has heard complaints from donors in recent weeks about the committee, and one of those allies said he had “soured” on the McDaniel’s performance.
A Trump campaign spokesperson had no comment.
Other Republicans note that Trump and McDaniel speak frequently. And in a statement, an RNC spokesperson noted that the committee has filed more than 70 “election integrity” lawsuits and has “election integrity directors” in 15 states.
“Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel and the entire Republican National Committee are focused on defeating Biden next fall,” the spokesperson said. “The RNC will continue to communicate with all campaigns and candidates as we look forward to putting our proven infrastructure behind our presidential candidate.”
The committee also sent statements of support for McDaniel from the state party chairmen of Nevada, Alabama, Iowa, California and North Carolina, as evidence of the depth of his support.
“Having worked with Speaker Ronna McDaniel over the past two election cycles, I couldn’t ask for a better partner to help us secure historic Republican victories in Iowa,” said Republican Party Chairman Jeff Kaufman. from Iowa. “Without his support, Iowa and the Iowa Caucus would not be leading in the nation. She has my full confidence as we head into the heart of caucus season.
Trump may have ways to make changes to the RNC if he becomes the presumptive nominee. One option Trump is considering is installing a loyalist on the committee who would play a key role in overseeing the RNC’s operations. The Trump campaign has suggested it plans to make changes to the committee if it wins the primary, saying in a memo earlier this month that it would “refocus” the organization.
The former president is being urged by conservative activists to do so. Dissatisfaction with McDaniel, in particular, has been fueled by the conservative group Turning Point USA, whose founder, Charlie Kirk, has urged Trump to push for a change in leadership on the committee.
“There is still time to correct many of the RNC’s structural problems,” Kirk said in a statement, “but we must act quickly.”
Kirk and Turning Point USA attempted to unseat McDaniel in the last RNC election, only to see her win a fourth term. But in the wake of last week’s election defeats in Virginia, Kentucky and Ohio, simmering frustration with McDaniel has become much more pronounced.
Virginia GOP Chairman Rich Anderson claimed the RNC rejected his request for financial aid. McDaniel maintains that Virginia officials told the RNC this summer that they didn’t need the money and that the state’s Republicans were overwhelmed on the issue of abortion.
Members of Congress have also begun to join the chorus of criticism. And on Wednesday, biotech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy’s campaign launched FireRonna.com, an online petition calling for his ouster. During the third primary debate a few days earlier, Ramaswamy had attacked McDaniel while he was on stage – a surprise attack he had mulled over at home earlier in the day with conservative commentator Benny Johnson, l one of the main contributors to Turning Point USA.
“I think I should just say, ‘Ronna McDaniel should resign, there has to be some accountability, she should get on stage now.’ She’s here, Ronna comes here and resigns,” Ramaswamy told Johnson, according to a video Johnson posted to his social media feed.
McDaniel responded Sunday to Ramaswamy and criticism of him, saying the “circular firing squad” of blame is “harming” the GOP.
“I was disappointed (by Ramaswamy’s statement),” North Carolina GOP Chairman Michael Whatley said in a statement provided by the RNC. “What the RNC is trying to do is give each of these candidates an opportunity to communicate their message to the American people.
Ramaswamy’s complaints were perhaps more personal and direct. But other candidates on stage criticized the RNC for its stage access requirements and its ban on participating in other debates not sanctioned by the GOP. In an interview with POLITICO, North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum criticized McDaniel and RNC debate chair David Bossie by name for trying to winnow the field ahead of Iowa based on their debate rules .
“What is the point of trying to reduce competition? » said Burgum. He added: “It’s a behind-the-scenes affair, lick your finger, put it in the air and make up something arbitrary to try to nationalize the primaries.” »
McDaniel’s performance as chairman was a topic of conversation among southern RNC members gathered for regional training this week at the Beau Rivage Resort & Casino in Biloxi, Mississippi. But almost no one believes in a majority, let alone two-thirds, of RNC members. would be ready to hold a special vote to oust him a year before the end of his term.
“Obviously we would like to win more. I think it’s a collective bargaining agreement,” Brock said. “I don’t think there’s a lot of collective appetite to replace her this time.”
“Laura Ingraham and these guys can say whatever they want, but you’re not going to convince her to resign.”