The acrimonious race for the RNC presidency has the willies of the members of the party committee

DANA POINT, Calif. — The race for the Republican National Committee chairmanship has become a bitter affair that has exposed lingering divisions and left some members wondering if this family feud has been good for the Republican Party.

RNC members gathered here for their winter meeting say the race, with Ronna McDaniel seeking a fourth term, and California committee member Harmeet Dhillon, has taken on a negative tone and sparked infighting they would rather have kept behind closed doors.

Rich Anderson, an uncommitted member of the Virginia RNC, told The Washington Times that some in the party “feel we need a big conversation about public cleansing.”

Indeed, pro-Dhillon forces have argued that the party has become complacent and that a robust debate is long overdue for a party that is picking up the pieces of another disappointing election cycle.

“I would prefer to do all of this in private,” Anderson said, contrasting it with the way Democrats handle their disputes. “I like to say that the Democrats take it in the back room and do it there. What we do is say, ‘We’ll meet in aisle three at Walmart and bring your cameras.’”

Things will come to a head on Friday on the last day of the winter meeting. That’s when the 168-member committee, made up of three representatives from each of the 50 states and territories, cast their secret ballots at the luxurious Dana Point resort overlooking the Pacific Ocean.

Under RNC rules, the winner must capture a majority of the votes cast. If no one wins in the first round of voting, he will continue to cast his votes until a winner emerges.

Mike Lindell, the CEO of MyPillow and a fierce promoter of the stolen election indictments of former President Trump, is also on the ballot. He is not considered a serious contender.

With Republicans well positioned to overturn the Senate next year and looking to recapture the White House, the stakes are high in the race.

The next RNC chair will have a lot of influence over the rules governing the 2024 Republican presidential debates, including who can qualify. They will be responsible for raising money and spending it on consultants, state parties and the infrastructure needed to help elect Republicans running in elections across the country.

And they will serve as the face of a party that has struggled to come together, as evidenced by the protracted House speaker fight in which far-right lawmakers nearly derailed the rise of Rep. Kevin McCarthy, California. Republican.

Mr. Trump appointed Ms. McDaniel as RNC chair following the 2016 election. She has remained neutral in this round. It’s the first competitive race for Mrs. McDaniel’s chair.

As it is, she is in the driver’s seat.

Ms. McDaniel, the niece of Sen. Mitt Romney and former chair of the Michigan Republican Party, announced pledges of support she received from more than 100 RNC members shortly after the midterm elections, an attempt to scare off potential rivals.

Ms Dhillon and her supporters have downplayed the post-election promises, saying they were made before she ran, giving members an alternative after a series of electoral setbacks for the Republican Party.

She has been working overtime to win over undecided members and take away some of the support promised by Ms. McDaniel.

Ms Dhillon and her allies argue that Ms McDaniel has lost touch with the grassroots and squandered party money. They also accuse her of running a rumor campaign against the Sikh faith and Ms Dhillon’s Indian heritage.

Mrs. McDaniel, a Mormon, denies these claims.

Seeking to increase grassroots pressure on committee members, Ms Dhillon and her allies, as well as Mr Lindell’s camp, shared the committee’s personal contacts on social media, according to RNC members who say they have been bombarded with emails and phone calls. .

“Most have been cut-and-paste emails filled with misinformation,” said Leora Levy, a Connecticut committee member. “Most have been polite, but some have been rude and even vulgar.”

Ms McDaniel and her supporters say Ms Dhillon has run a polarizing campaign that threatens to deepen divisions within the party at a time when the party must unite.

Kyshia Brassington, a committee member from North Carolina, said she was concerned about Ms. Dhillon’s contact with committee members.
“I have personally found Ms. Dhillon to be inexplicably aggressive and negative towards her teammates,” she said. “This is a problem and it is not conducive to winning.”

Bill Palatucci, a New Jersey committee member who endorses Dhillon, said the backlash against Dhillon’s campaign is false.

“It seems humiliating to me that these very experienced politicians complain about the instability of national politics,” Palatucci said. “Had you not presided over such a disastrous cycle last November, you would not have put yourself in this position to defend your actions.”

“For me, this is politics as usual,” he said. “You have to have a thick skin to be in this game and if you don’t, you shouldn’t be here.”

• Seth McLaughlin reported from Washington.

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