Ronna McDaniel, who’s poised to seize a historic fourth time period as chair of the Republican National Committee, has not solely absolved herself of any accountability for the string of disappointing elections for the GOP on her watch but additionally has given former President Donald Trump a move.
If something, she mentioned, the outcomes of the 2022 midterm elections would have been worse for the celebration if she was not on the helm.
“The RNC is infrastructure. … We’re the stadium. The players play in our stadium. The infrastructure is necessary for victory. And that’s why I want to stay on. I think the RNC made this election better than it would have otherwise been,” she mentioned in an interview with The Washington Times.
Mrs. McDaniel has weathered criticism for Republican losses on the polls in 2018 and 2020 and the failure to summon a pink wave on this year’s midterm elections. Nevertheless, her assist stays sturdy in GOP circles, and he or she seems to have lined up greater than sufficient assist to win reelection to chairwoman on the RNC’s winter meeting subsequent month in Dana Point, California.
She mentioned her detractors aren’t seeing the large image of what occurred within the Nov. 8 elections.
“The fact that we picked up the House, I think cannot get overlooked. The fact that we kept every incumbent governor and senator is critical,” she mentioned. “From an RNC perspective, turning out 3 million more voters on the popular vote — which would have been an electoral victory for us in a presidential year — is key.”
Mrs. McDaniel, who’s carefully allied with Mr. Trump, mentioned she shared the issues of these within the celebration who watched GOP candidates in essential races, particularly Senate races, lose in states the place different GOP candidates received statewide races. That occurred in Georgia and Nevada.
“You have to look at specifically why in certain states [where] one Republican would win statewide and another one would not. And that’s going to be the sweet spot of why did some Republicans not vote for our candidates,” she mentioned.
Mrs. McDaniel stopped in need of blaming Mr. Trump, as some within the celebration have, for championing the candidates who lost in probably the most pivotal races.
The most outstanding Republican critic of Trump-endorsed candidates, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, referred to as it a problem of “candidate quality.”
Mrs. McDaniel eliminated Mr. Trump from that equation, saying that she doesn’t like “bashing candidates.”
“I do think it’s important that many of our Senate candidates were first-time candidates. They’ve never run for office ever in their lives. And that’s a disadvantage when you’re going up against a well-funded, well-oiled machine of a Democrat incumbent,” she mentioned.
She blamed the newbies’ lack of a longtime fundraising group and volunteer or grassroots infrastructure. She additionally blamed political consultants for relying too closely on TV adverts, which make consultants extra money, fairly than marketing campaign fundamentals reminiscent of constructing volunteer networks, get-out-the-vote operations and poll harvesting.
Next cycle, she mentioned, she’ll work to carry “consultants more accountable.” She plans to create a finest practices worksheet for first-time candidates that explains the questions they need to be asking consultants, reminiscent of how a lot to pay for SMS texting and the way a lot consultants ought to be allowed to pocket for a TV advert purchase.
“We really need to help guide them so that they understand what best practices are with consultants. On the RNC front, we are always looking for good vendors and new vendors,” she mentioned. “We like to spread it out. We will continue to do that and hold consultants accountable.”
Mrs. McDaniel stays the undisputed frontrunner within the race for RNC chair. Of the celebration’s 168 voting members, 107 have pledged to assist her. That’s 22 extra votes than she must win.
Her chief opponent within the race is California Republican Committeewoman Harmeet Dhillon, a San Francisco-based legal professional who entered the race for chair two weeks in the past. She is understood for taking up high-profile, politically-charged instances for conservative shoppers, together with the RNC.
My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell additionally has introduced his candidacy for chairman.
Ms. Dhillon is among the many critics of how Mrs. McDaniel has run the RNC since Mr. Trump first supported her for the job in December 2016, following his election. Ms. Dhillon has mentioned the RNC has lacked a technique to win since Mr. Trump lost his reelection bid in 2020.
“We really didn’t change our strategy at all in 2022, there should have been a historical opportunity to pick up seats, and we flubbed it. And so I’m not confident with the same leadership that we are going to get a better result,” she mentioned on Fox News. “We don’t have a social media strategy. Digital is not performing well, consultants get hundreds of millions of dollars, and we don’t win elections.”
Mrs. McDaniel advised The Times that lots of “good things” have occurred for the celebration throughout her six-year tenure. She pointed to the GOP voter registration features in states reminiscent of Florida, North Carolina and Iowa the place Republicans have racked up election wins.
The RNC additionally has aggressively cast inroads with minorities, making features courting voters and candidates from these communities.
“The community centers that we’ve added in 38 different locations dealing with Black, Hispanic and Asian outreach, those pay dividends,” she mentioned. “I know that if we don’t continue to do these things before 2024 and if we have a lapse or a gap in these programs, that will impact our effectiveness.”
One of her greatest strengths as RNC chair, and what she sees as a prime argument for her holding the job, is her fundraising prowess.
Federal Election Campaign information present that the RNC raised round $247 million over the last 18-month marketing campaign cycle. The Democratic National Committee raised nearly $223 million in the identical interval.
Mrs. McDaniel credit her sturdy relationship with GOP moneymen.
“The donors that I’ve spoken to, and I speak to them daily, are very pleased with the RNC,” she mentioned. “They understand what the RNC does and they trust me.”