Ronna McDaniel won her fourth term as the head of the Republican National Committee (RNC) on Friday, fending off opposition driven by disappointing results from the 2022 midterm elections.
The results come after a heated race in which attorney Harmeet Dhillon and pillow magnate Mike Lindell sought to replace McDaniel, according to the Associated Press.
Many of former President Donald Trump’s top lieutenants, including top adviser Susie Wiles, were whipping votes on behalf of the incumbent chair.
Other MAGA stalwarts and many of the former president’s defenders in the press and on network news sided with Dhillon. The Republican Party’s losses in the 2018, 2020, and 2022 elections showed that the party needs a change of pace, Dhillon’s supporters argued.
The RNC chair race received a last-minute shock on Thursday as Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis made comments to Turning Point USA’s Charlie Kirk favorable to Dhillon. The Florida governor said the party needed “new blood” at the top.
“I think we need a change, I think we need to get some new blood in the RNC, I like what Harmeet Dhillon said about getting the RNC out of D.C.,” DeSantis said. “I do think we need some fresh thinking. And practically you need grassroots Republicans to power this organization with volunteering and donations, and I think it’s going to be very difficult to energize people to want to give money and volunteer their time with the RNC if they don’t change direction.”
The campaign at times became personal on both sides as Dhillon and McDaniel battled for a majority of support. Lindell, though running, was seen as a distant third and unlikely to garner the votes as an outsider.
Dhillon suggested that McDaniel may be trying to influence the votes of committee members by threatening to withhold party funds from their states. McDaniel denied the allegations.
Opponents of Dhillon reportedly spread concerns over the attorney’s “Sikh faith.” Dhillon said in a statement responding to the insinuations that it was “hurtful to learn that a handful of RNC members, in a close race for RNC chair, have chosen to question my fitness to run the RNC by using my devout Sikh faith as a weapon against me.”
McDaniel released a statement condemning religious bigotry.
“We are the party of faith, family and freedom, and these attacks have no place in our party or our politics,” McDaniel said. “As a member of a minority faith myself, I would never condone such attacks. I have vowed to run a positive campaign and will continue to do so.”