The traditional Republican Party desire to maintain the status quo, coupled with the acumen of Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel's knack for keeping in touch with her members, resulted Friday in her easier-than-expected reelection.
In a secret ballot by the 168-member Republican National Committee at their winter meeting in Dana Point, California, McDaniel, 49, won by a comfortable margin of 111 to 51 over RNC Committeewoman Harmeet Dhillon of California.
MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell received four votes.
In securing an unprecedented fourth two-year term at the RNC helm, McDaniel had the backing of several Trump administration veterans who whipped votes for her.
The former head of the Michigan state party, who was named national chairwoman by Donald Trump following his election as president in 2016, promised repeatedly to be neutral in the 2024 GOP nomination battle.
(Interestingly, the former Ronna Romney is the niece of 2012 Republican presidential nominee, Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah. She has publicly voiced her disagreement with the "Never Trump" positions of her Uncle Mitt).
But Dhillon had support from her party's increasingly strong Trump wing. Among those endorsing her were Rep. Marjorie Taylor Green of Georgia and 2022 Arizona gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake, who addressed a Dhillon rally on two nights before the vote.
Much of the debate in the McDaniel-Dhillon-Lindell bout was less about Trump and more about which candidate was good at party building.
"I never committed to Ronna," RNC Committeewoman Laura Nakanelua of Hawaii told Newsmax Wednesday night. "I put my name on a list of RNC members supporting her for reelection, but that was when she was unopposed. I've been 100% for Harmeet since she got in the race. I can't, in good conscience, support any more of the same."
Nakanelua's view was seconded by RNC Committeewoman Pam Pollard of Oklahoma, who told us, "I listened to the grassroots and then made up my mind to support Harmeet. To a person, they wanted change."
But others who spoke to us cited the incumbent's record of keeping in touch with the parties in their respective states and assisting them even in Democratic territory.
Ben Proto, state chairman of increasingly Democratic Connecticut, said, "Ronna calls frequently, asks what we need, and never fails to give us help. She has the vote of all three RNC members from our state."
That contact nationwide — plus the desire not to change the chair as the presidential campaign is about to commence — was enough to give McDaniel the longest tenure of any RNC chairman since the 19th century.
In endorsing McDaniel, RNC Committeeman Henry McCann of Delaware told Newsmax Tuesday night, "We'd better come together no matter who is elected chairman." Whether the Republican Party does that will be almost surely be a defining moment of McDaniel's tenure.
John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.
© 2023 Newsmax. All rights reserved.