DANA POINT, Calif. — Ronna McDaniel won re-election Friday to a fourth term as chair of the Republican National Committee, defeating insurgent challenger Harmeet Dhillon in a secret ballot at the party’s annual winter meeting.
McDaniel easily secured a majority of the 168 votes needed to win, with 111 votes compared to 51 for Dhillon, four for MyPillow founder Mike Lindell and one for former Rep. Lee Zeldin, RN.Y., who was not a candidate.
McDaniel is now on track to become the longest-serving GOP chairman since the 19th century. She joins Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., the Senate Majority Leader, and Speaker of the House, Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif.
The match seemed like a foregone conclusion for months. McDaniel released a letter of endorsement from over 100 of the RNC’s 168 members shortly after midterms – support that led to Zeldin deciding not to launch his own bid to lead the RNC.
But with the secret ballot and Dhillon’s aggressive campaign arguing that McDaniel should not be re-elected after GOP shortcomings in November, members did not write off Dhillon ahead of the vote. Publicly, about 30 RNC members had committed themselves to Dhillon ahead of the vote.
Lindell, a leading election plotter, launched a long-running bid but never gained much momentum.
McDaniel’s supporters argued that she was best positioned to advance the party because of her resource allocation and solid working relationship with the state party leadership.
Even with McDaniel as the next chairman, many RNC members say they expect tensions to continue.
“If this is over tomorrow, it’s not over yet,” said Jonathan Barnett, an Arkansas RNC committee member who supported Dhillon to lead the party. “It will take some time to build up again, and Harmeet still has a strong voice. All of us who support Harmeet are not going away.
The RNC also approved it a package of nine resolutions on Friday by vote. They include measures to condemn anti-Semitism, oppose ranking voting, calls to hold President Joe Biden accountable for his administration’s handling of the U.S. border with Mexico, urging the U.S. to release any “ Chinese police agency” operating in the country and to broadly discourage the use of TikTok – including encouraging a ban on its use on federal government devices.