Ronna McDaniel Plans To Step Down As RNC Chair: REPORT

(Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Hailey Gomez General Assignment Reporter
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Republican National Committee (RNC) Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel is planning to step down from her position shortly after the South Carolina primary in late February, according to The New York Times (NYT).

Two sources familiar with the plans revealed to the outlet that McDaniel told leading GOP presidential candidate and former President Donald Trump her decision. The former president will promote the chairman of North Carolina’s Republican Party, Michael Whatley, for McDaniel’s replacement, sources told The NYT. (RELATED: ‘A Revenue Problem’: Worries Mount Over GOP’s Finances Ahead Of 2024)

While Trump’s promotion of Whatley may boost support from other members, according to the committee’s rules, a new election must be taken to replace McDaniel officially, The NYT reported. 

McDaniel won her fourth term as the chairwoman in January 2023, following challenges from attorney Harmeet Dhillon and entrepreneur Mike Lindell. After becoming the longest serving party chair since the GOP’s initial chair, Edwin Morgan, McDaniel faced increased pressures from opposing Republicans, with many calling out the GOP’s losing track record from the last three elections. 

The notable losses for the GOP came massively in 2022 as many on the right claimed there would be a “red wave.” However, Dr. Mehmet Oz lost to then Democratic Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, former NFL running back Herschel Walker lost to then Democrat Georgia Sen. Rafael Warnock and former general Don Bolduc failed to unseat Democratic New Hampshire Sen. Maggie Hassan. Additionally, GOP gubernatorial nominees Kari Lake and Doug Mastriano both lost their elections in Arizona and Pennsylvania, respectively.

MIAMI, FLORIDA – NOVEMBER 08: RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel delivers remarks before the NBC News Republican Presidential Primary Debate at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County on November 8, 2023 in Miami, Florida. Five presidential hopefuls including, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, Vivek Ramaswamy and U.S. Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC), squared off in the third Republican primary debate as former U.S. President Donald Trump, currently facing indictments in four locations, declined again to participate. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Nearly halfway into McDaniel’s fourth term, conservative justice candidate Daniel Kelly lost in his race for a seat on the Wisconsin Supreme Court, to which McDaniel blamed on a “messaging issue.” As Kelly’s competitor, Janet Protasiewicz defeated the conservative by securing 55.8% of the vote, Republicans had notably provided Kelly with far less funding, according to campaign finance reports.

By late 2023, many within the RNC had resounding concerns over the groups finances due to major donations dropping prior to the 2024 elections, according to The Washington Post. Reports revealed from the RNC showed that on Oct. 30, they had the lowest amount of cash on hand since 2015, holding only $9.1 million. As Trump and other party members voiced concerns over the committee’s fundraising, the RNC appeared to have a drop in both large and small-dollar donations within the recent years. (RELATED: ‘Continually Fail’: GOP To End Debate Season In Disney’s Arms)

Outside of financial issues and losing patterns for the RNC, McDaniel came under fire during the debates. Former GOP presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy repeatedly criticized the RNC chairwoman for her leadership. During the third GOP presidential debate, Ramaswamy called for McDaniel to resign, stating that the GOP needed to have “accountability” within the party. Additionally the former GOP candidate launched a petition to unseat McDaniel through a site called FireRonna.com.

Most recently, Trump had suggested during a Sunday interview with Fox that there would be “some changes” coming to the RNC when questioned about McDaniel’s performance. The former president stated that people were no longer “looking at the RNC,” emphasizing that he was “separate” from the committee.

“So, I have a lot of money, and the money that they get, people are not looking at the RNC,” Trump stated. “They want changes. You have to understand, I have nothing to do with the RNC, I don’t — I’m separate.”

McDaniel, however, negated rumors Wednesday about her possible pending resignation, sending a memo to RNC members stating that nothing has been decided. The chairwoman’s memo stated that she wanted to “reassure” all members of the party that she is “still hard at work” in her position, and “building a machine” that will help elect Republicans within the upcoming elections in November.