As the election for determining the next Republican National Committee chairperson nears, former President Donald Trump is remaining tight-lipped about his preferred candidate.
The RNC will hold its election in late January, shortly after the U.S. House determines the next majority speaker. Both events have the potential to shape the future of the Republican Party, which was expecting a “red wave” to overtake Congress during the midterm elections. Although Republicans won the House, it was by a much slimmer margin than expected.
The three candidates battling for RNC chair are all Trump supporters: incumbent Ronna McDaniel, lawyer Harmeet Dhillon and MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell.
Trump hasn’t explicitly announced his support for one of the three candidates, leaving each Republican to battle amongst themselves for the position. Both McDaniel and Dhillon have informed Trump of their campaign.
McDaniel, who Trump previously backed for RNC chair—most recently in 2020 even after losing the presidential election to Joe Biden—is vying for her fourth term as chair. She informed the former president of her decision, although didn’t ask for his support, saying she didn’t feel it was appropriate since the RNC is supposed to remain neutral in the upcoming presidential primary, of which Trump is a candidate.
After many Trump-endorsed candidates failed to secure the election during the midterms, McDaniel told the Associated Press that she wants to unite the RNC. Dhillon, McDaniel’s front-running opponent, has criticized McDaniel for mismanaging the party’s funds and directing money to items other than candidates’ campaigns.
“Donors want their money to go to elect Republicans. That’s why they give to the RNC,” Dhillon told political strategist Steve Bannon on his War Room podcast. “The Democrats are not blowing a congressional race’s difference worth of money, $700,000, on flowers. They’re not spending a ton of money on private jets…and guess what they’re doing that we’re not doing? They’re winning elections.”
Dhillon doesn’t place the RNC’s setbacks on McDaniel alone. She also blamed Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, accusing him of not investing enough money into Republican candidates during the midterm elections. McConnell’s political action committees donated more to GOP candidates than Trump did.
Dhillon, who some Trump supporters favor to replace McDaniel, wants to reshape its leadership to perform better in upcoming elections. She also reportedly called Trump to inform him of her decision to run, and although the former president didn’t explicitly give her an endorsement, he also didn’t advise her against it, according to the AP.
Lindell told Insider last week that he’s running to “fix [the RNC’s] problems,” citing overcoming challenges with his business as experience befitting him as a good candidate.
The MyPillow CEO has received some support, including that of Republican Kari Lake who recently lost a bid for Arizona governor, and announced he would funnel his paycheck back into the RNC if elected. He’s criticized McDaniel for the RNC’s record while she’s served as its leader.
McDaniel has presided over Republicans losing the House in 2018, losing the Senate and the White House in 2020, losing the Senate in this year’s midterm elections and seeing a smaller-than-expected GOP majority in the House.
She has, so far, received the most support from RNC members, with more than 100 of the 168 members pledging to vote for her in the election.
Newsweek reached out to the RNC for comment.
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