Republican National Committee chair Ronna McDaniel was battling for her political life Friday as she seeks to fend off two pro-Trump challengers for the powerful post.
Harmeet Dhillon and MyPillow.com’s Mike Lindell are both vying to oust McDaniel from the job she has held since 2017.
Some 168 delegates were set to vote on a new chairman later Friday in Dana Point, Calif.
McDaniel says Trump backs her and she remains a strong favorite to win.
But restive factions inside his own MAGA movement have lined up behind Dhillon, who is harnessing far right-wing frustration with lackluster election showings on her watch.
The bitter divisions within the GOP threaten over Trump and other issues could undermine the party’s 2024 campaign and derail McDaniel’s bid to become the longest-serving RNC chair since the Civil War.
Ahead of Friday’s vote, Dhillon trumpeted the MAGA base’s hunger for change and threatened retribution for the RNC members who back McDaniel..
“Ignoring the will of the voters … is a good way not to elected again,” Dhillon said.
Former Arizona candidate for governor Kari Lake, a far right-wing firebrand, was lobbying on Dhillon’s behalf.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, considered a top 2024 presidential prospect, also spoke out against McDaniel on the eve of the vote.
“I think we need a change. I think we need to get some new blood in the RNC,” DeSantis said in an interview with Florida’s Voice, citing three “substandard election cycles in a row” under McDaniel’s leadership.
The RNC controls much of the presidential nominating process — including the debates and voting calendar — while directing GOP fundraising efforts and the sprawling nationwide infrastructure designed first and foremost to elect a Republican president.
Ex-Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-N.Y.), who mounted a stronger than expected challenge to Gov. Hochul, considered a run for RNC chair but ended up passing on the race.
Also in the race is Lindell, a pro-Trump conspiracy theorist who secured enough support to qualify for the ballot.
Lindell has already endorsed Trump’s 2024 campaign and said he will never stray from the MAGA gospel.
“I’ve never not endorsed Donald Trump,” Lindell said. “I’m never moving off that space.”
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