Republican Party chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel is running for another term as the head of the party after being effectively installed by Donald Trump in 2017. This time around, however, there are questions about whether her leadership has been that helpful in getting more Republicans elected.
Pillow hawker Mike Lindell is running as well, despite his failure to deliver on conspiracy theories he's promised to reveal for the past two years. He's alleged that the current RNC is corrupt and is guilty of a money laundering scheme, but hasn't provided any evidence of that either.
On Thursday a California Republican jumped into the race as well. MSNBC reporter Vaughn Hillyard compared it to be much like the Speaker race in Congress earlier this month, where the right's Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) was forced to make a number of deals after being challenged by the far right.
Harmeet Dhillon, who announced she's joining the race, is arguing that in a year the RNC raised and spent $400 million in a year where Republicans expected to win big in the House and the U.S. Senate. Instead, they only narrowly were able to gain the House and had a net loss in the Senate.
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"She was standing next to Kari Lake," said Hillyard about Dhillon in California Wednesday night at the hotel where the Republican Party conference will be held. "But she's making the case that they need to focus on how to win under the voting rules that do exist. One of those being that early voting is a thing. Mail voting is a thing and they need to target the voters to get their ballots in early because they have essentially ceded ground by not playing within the rules that state legislatures have crafted over the last couple of years here."
Lake is perhaps supporting Dhillon because she believes that Lake should have been given more money for legal challenges in Arizona. Dhillon's law firm is currently being paid to wage legal battles for the RNC.
Former George W. Bush strategist-turned-Democratic candidate Matthew Dowd finds "something" in the idea that DeSantis is weighing in.
"I think could have some effect. My guess having gone through these before when I worked for President Bush in the midst of that is, these things are very insider baseball," he explained. "It's 168 members. Usually, the chair does a lot of care in feeding of those individual members and doesn't have to do a lot. They need 85 votes to become chair. What's amazing to me, what's really amazing to me under any normal circumstances, McDaniel would be gone. She became chair. She lost badly in 2018. She lost again in 2020. She really lost again in 2022."
But worse than losing where she has, Dowd said, is that she claimed she'd win over Michigan and has failed spectacularly.
"She put a special emphasis on Michigan about taking Michigan back and what happened in Michigan?" Dowd asked. "Democrats, for the first time in 40 years hold all of the state-wide offices and all of the branches of government. And so, to me the argument is over somebody that incompetently ran the RNC versus people who that so far right that their candidates they supported couldn't win. That choice is such a bizarre thing to me that somebody hasn't surfaced, that's sort of a normal human being that knows how to run elections. But the choice is that and that really is reflective of the Republican Party."
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