EXCLUSIVE – As she fights for another two-year term steering the Republican National Committee, chairwoman Ronna McDaniel is landing the support of dozens and dozens of leading GOP donors.
In a letter shared first with Fox News on Tuesday, roughly 150 top Republican Party donors endorsed McDaniel and emphasized that “Ronna has led the Party with integrity and transparency. She has demonstrated good judgment and a steady hand as she guided the RNC through challenging political times.”
McDaniel, who’s running for a fourth term steering the RNC, which is unprecedented in modern times, is being challenged by Harmeet Dhillon, an attorney who is also an RNC committee member from California and who served as a legal adviser on former President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign. Dhillon announced her bid for RNC chair on the Fox News Channel last month.
MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell, who’s a strong supporter of Trump’s unproven claims the 2020 presidential election was rigged and stolen, is also challenging McDaniel.
The RNC showdown, the national party committee’s first hotly contested chair race in a dozen years, has turned into a contentious family feud as the GOP decides its leadership while the party jumps into an election cycle in which it aims to win back the White House, regain the Senate majority, and hold its fragile control of the House. And it comes as the party aims to rebound from a disappointing showing in November’s midterm elections, and as it debates the future of the party and Trump’s continued influence over the GOP.
“Under Ronna’s unwavering leadership, the RNC has made consistent, critical contributions to the Republican ecosystem,” the donors highlighted in their letter. “As investors in the Party and successful leaders in our businesses and communities, we believe Ronna should be elected to another term to continue this important work, which she will do with skill and determination.”
The new backing of McDaniel by major donors follows the endorsements earlier this month by four current and former RNC Finance Chairs: Ambassador Duke Buchan III, Todd Ricketts, Ray Washburne, and Ron Weiser.
McDaniel, who as Michigan GOP chair was Trump’s handpicked choice to steer the committee after he won the White House in 2016, was re-elected to the post in 2019 and 2021. She has been a prolific fundraiser for the national party during her tenure steering the committee. According to McDaniel’s team, the chairwoman has hauled in record $1.5 billion during her tenure, traveled over half a million miles and held over 330 donor events.
But the GOP electoral setbacks in November, as well as in 2018, when the party lost its House majority, and in 2020 when it lost control of the Senate and the White House, all came on McDaniel’s watch, which sparked calls for a change of leadership.
Dhillon last week showcased a list of 20 GOP mega donors who are backing her and argued that the Republican Party’s “on the verge of permanent irrelevance” if it fails to come together and support a change of leadership.
“We are calling on members of the RNC to thank Ronna McDaniel for her service and to support the only RNC member seeking to succeed her, Harmeet Dhillon – a bold visionary with the energy and experience to retool the party for success in 2024 and beyond,” the donors said in their letter.
And in recent weeks several state GOP delegations have passed no confidence votes against McDaniel.
All three candidates will separately make their cases to the 168 RNC committee members who are eligible to vote for chair, at a forum next week as the RNC this year holds its annual winter meeting in Dana Point, California. The secret ballot vote for chair by the committee members will come on the final day of the RNC meeting, on Friday, Jan. 27. The forum is open only to the RNC committee members and their representatives or proxies.
Dhillon and Lindell separately have said they’ll take part in a public debate on Wednesday, Jan. 25, that’s being hosted by two conservative media outlets – the John Fredericks Media Network and Real America’s Voice. McDaniel has declined to attend, pointing to her existing commitment to the RNC members only forum.
McDaniel, in an interview last month with Fox News Digital, described her support as “pretty solid,” touting endorsements from over 100 RNC committee members – which would far exceed the simple majority of the 168 members needed to win re-election.
But Dhillon has repeatedly questioned the firmness of McDaniel’s advertised support, and she’s emphasized in numerous interviews that she wants to take the party in a “fresh direction.”