Politico

Ronna McDaniel set to get new opponent for RNC post

Ronna McDaniel is about to draw a challenge to her post as Republican National Committee chair.

Harmeet Dhillon, a RNC committeewoman whose firm represents Donald Trump, is prepping a bid for party chair, according to two people familiar with her planning. Dhillon has been talking with fellow RNC members about a prospective run, and those close to Dhillon say a formal launch could come within the next few days.

“After three successive terms of underwhelming results at the polls for the GOP, all the while with leaders congratulating ourselves for outstanding performance, I feel that we owe it to our voters to have a serious debate about the leadership of the party and what we must change to actually win in 2024,” Dhillon said in a statement.

A Dhillon candidacy would mark the most serious challenge to McDaniel to date. Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-N.Y.), who ran an unsuccessful bid for New York governor, has also said he is considering a bid, though he has yet to declare his candidacy. Mike Lindell, the MyPillow executive and Trump backer who has risen to prominence through his denial of the 2020 election outcome, has launched a longshot campaign for the post.

The committee’s 168 members will hold a vote to determine the RNC chairmanship at the committee’s annual winter meeting, which is set to be held in late January in Dana Point, Calif. A McDaniel representative declined to comment on Dhillon’s anticipated candidacy.

McDaniel, who has been RNC leader since 2017 and would be the longest-serving chair in more than a century should she be reelected to a third term, may be tough to unseat. Her allies say she has already received commitments of support from more than 100 members — more than the majority of votes she would need. On Friday, McDaniel received an endorsement from David Bossie, an influential Maryland RNC committeeman once seen as a potential contender for the chairmanship. Trump himself has not endorsed.

People close to Dhillon, however, insist that McDaniel’s support is soft and that she could win over those who are unhappy with the party’s disappointing showing in this year’s midterms.

Dhillon is a Fox News regular whose law firm has represented several top MAGA officials, including Arizona gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake as well as Trump in his dealings with the congressional committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol riot. She has argued that there were major problems in the 2020 election and that the FBI’s search of Mar-a-Lago was “purely” political.

She said in her statement that “tens of thousands of Republicans have contacted me in recent weeks about the future of the party, demanding that we make changes in order to fulfill our only function of electing Republicans nationally.”

Dhillon is a longtime conservative activist, having served as chair of the Republican National Lawyers Association and as a former chair of the San Francisco Republican Party.

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