Four RNC finance chairs back McDaniel in leadership race

RNC Chairman Ronna Romney McDaniel
Greg Nash
RNC Chairman Ronna Romney McDaniel is interviewed remotely by Fox News during an Election Night party at The Westin in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, November 8, 2022.

Four Republican National Committee (RNC) finance chairmen have endorsed Ronna McDaniel’s bid to stay on as party chairwoman, defending her fundraising track record and relationships with donors as she seeks to fend off a leadership challenge.

Duke Buchan III, the current finance chair, and former finance chairs Todd Ricketts, Ray Washburne and Ron Weiser wrote to the 168 RNC members to express their support for McDaniel, according to letters obtained by The Hill. 

The letters highlight McDaniel’s relationships with RNC donors and her efforts during her six years as chairwoman to build a fundraising infrastructure. McDaniel is seeking a fourth term as chairwoman, but she has faced criticism from the right over the party’s election performance and its spending. 

“Ronna is a proven fundraiser having raised staggering resources during her tenure; resources which campaigns at all levels across the country rely on to win. She has built and grown a Republican infrastructure that will stand the test of time,” Washburne, who served as finance chairman in 2013 and 2014, wrote in his letter to RNC members, which went out Tuesday. 

Weiser, who served as RNC finance chairman from 2011 to 2013 and is currently the Michigan Republican Party chairman, pushed back in his letter on what he called “false attacks” about how the committee spent its money during the midterm cycle.   

Harmeet Dhillon, an attorney who represented former President Trump and an RNC member from California, has announced a challenge to McDaniel. Dhillon and some others have pointed to high travel costs to question McDaniel’s spending priorities. 

“Anyone who believes they can raise the necessary funds without spending money on travel, food and the like is fooling themselves,” Weiser wrote in a letter that was sent to RNC members on Tuesday. “I know that Ronna does what’s best for our party and for our country. Indeed, we cannot lose sight of this elemental fact: To win, we need effective fundraising—and Ronna has clearly demonstrated a remarkable track record.” 

Ricketts, who served alongside McDaniel at the RNC for three years, wrote in his letter to donors that “Ronna has acknowledged when the party falls short (as it did this year in the Senate) and is continually seeking to make improvements, so we are always working towards victory.” 

“Ronna has the knowledge and experience to continue exploring innovative ways to engage small dollar donors, push creative technology to rival the Democrats, and strengthen our digital fundraising,” Ricketts wrote. 

Buchan, who worked with McDaniel as finance chairman the last two years, pointed to her attendance at more than 300 events and more than 1,300 hours of calls devoted to fundraising and millions of dollars raised for the party as a sign of her commitment to the job. 

“These efforts cannot be replicated quickly or easily, and we cannot risk being underfunded in the critical upcoming Presidential Cycle,” Buchan wrote. 

McDaniel has served as head of the RNC since 2017, winning reelection every two years. But there has been growing frustration among Republicans in the wake of an underwhelming midterm showing this year, as Democrats added a seat to their Senate majority and won key governor races, while Republicans captured a smaller-than-expected House majority. 

Some of the blame has fallen on McDaniel, with conservatives calling for a change atop the RNC. Her critics have noted the GOP lost the House in 2018, lost the White House and Senate in 2020, and underperformed against expectations in 2022, all cycles during which McDaniel led the RNC. 

But the process of electing an RNC chair could help insulate McDaniel to a degree, as she has strong relationships with many of the 168 members who will determine her fate. McDaniel needs to win the support of only a majority of the 168 to secure another term, while Dhillon will need the support of at least two RNC members in three different states or territories to even get on the ballot. Each state and territory has three RNC members. 

An endorsement letter circulated earlier this month contained the signatures of 107 RNC members backing McDaniel to stay on as chairwoman, well more than the 84 she would need to win reelection at the party’s January meetings. McDaniel also has the backing of former RNC Chairman Reince Priebus. 

Trump has declined to endorse a candidate in the RNC chair race, telling Breitbart News in a recent interview that he likes both McDaniel and Dhillon. 

Tags 2022 midterm elections Donald Trump Harmeet Dhillon Republican National Committee RNC RNC chair Ron Weiser Ronna McDaniel Ronna McDaniel Todd Ricketts

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