AP Photo/Chris O'Meara

Ronna McDaniel May Need to Go ‘Gentle Into That Good Night’

The Republican National Committee election for chairmanship is scheduled for January 27, 2023, in Dana Point, California–less than 30 days away. There, 168 party delegates representing the 50 states and six territories will vote on whether Ronna McDaniel deserves a new term as GOP chair.

Since the revelations by RedState Managing Editor Jennifer Van Laar on financial malfeasance under McDaniel’s tenure, and the challenges by civil rights attorney Harmeet Dhillon, and businessman and MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell, McDaniel has been on the defensive, and hasn’t been doing a very good job of presenting why she deserves another term after losing the Senate, the House, and a presidency over the past five years.

GOP consultant Caroline Wren met with “War Room” podcast host Steve Bannon on Friday, to allegedly talk about Arizona (Wren is the GOP advisor to Kari Lake’s campaign). But sensing the growing food fight in upper eschelons, Bannon honed in on the RNC Chairmanship.

Bannon began,

First off, the RNC of it all. Where do we actually stand on that? Ronna McDaniel took some incoming about spending, about focus, about having people’s back. Harmeet came out, Mike Lindell came out.


Behind the scenes I know it’s been active. But the media has been a little slow around the holidays. Get us up to speed, ma’am.

Wren replied,

The race is heating up. […] We feel really good. I would say again, it’s just 168 people that get to vote, and the grassroots has stepped up so amazingly. Scott Pressler and others have led an effort to be contacting their 168 members. I would say over the holidays, we’ve been a little dark. Harmeet’s been flying around and meeting, actually, with these members and picking up votes constantly. I would argue that we’re in the high 50s, low 60s, and we’ve dropped Ronna below that 84-vote threshhold, so that is incredibly important. This is a tight, tight race.

Bannon interrupted her.

Woah, Woah, Woah. Don’t bury the lede. Are you telling our audience right now that Ronna McDaniel is below a first ballot win, she’s below 84?

Wren affirmed this.

In an Editorial Board op-ed in The Washington Times on Wednesday, the publication said,

To win requires an outright majority of 85 votes. At the moment, the incumbent chairperson, Ronna McDaniel, appears to have secured more than 100 votes.

If Wren is correct, and they have whittled that below 84 votes, then McDaniel may be losing her grip on the levers of power.

Bannon then asked,

Is there any possibility that she can be RNC chair if she can’t win the first ballot?

Wren replied,

Of course it’s a possibility. The thing about the people in current leadership is they like to rig systems to make sure that they’ll be able to win.

Wren gave the example of how Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell helped to institute ranked choice voting in Alaska, to ensure that Sen. Lisa Murkowski would never face any real competition.

Wren alleged,

That’s what we’re seeing happening in this race. Ronna’s team is panicked because they know how much we’re picking up steam.

Despite the David vs. Goliath battle occurring in the national GOP, Wren is a smart strategist, and obviously smells blood in the water. The power battles are not just playing out nationally, but in the GOP leadership ranks in several states.

Right now, there is a battle going on in Florida. Rep. Matt Gaetz recently stepped in to coalesce party support around Dhillon, by leading a meeting that is scheduled for January 20 to issue a vote of no confidence in McDaniel’s lack of leadership. Congresswoman-Elect Ana Paulina Luna has also endorsed Dhillon. The two candidates running for the Florida RNC Chair have joined the grassroots in their support of Dhillon over McDaniel, while the outgoing Florida RNC Chair is firmly #TeamRonna.

There are other battles for RNC Chair positions happening across the nation, including in Ohio, Nevada, and Arizona. Favored Nevada RNC Chair candidate Sigal Chattah has thrown her weight behind a Harmeet Dhillon candidacy.

And the Arizona delegation is clearly in Dhillon’s corner.

Wren also made the point that it is not just the grassroots that is fed up with McDaniel’s leadership, but the people who fund the party and the campaigns: the precious donor class.

The money people are very frustrated with giving to the party, as they should be, and a lot of them have stopped giving since 2020.[…] They are very disenfranchised with the party right now.[…] When you’ve lost the media, the donors, and the grassroots, I’m confused who it is that you have.

This could be Wren’s version of trash-talking, but as a person who has bundled money for successful GOP candidates, including former President Donald J. Trump, Wren strikes me as someone who leads with forthright action, rather than bravado or bluster. To paraphrase the Dylan Thomas poem, it could well be that the winds are in favor of McDaniel going “gentle into that good night”-while she still can.

Wren said:

The job of the RNC Party chair is to unite Republicans, so I must commend Ronna for her ability to unite all factions of Republicans against her candidacy; she’s been very good at that.

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