Republican National Committee chair Ronna McDaniel has reportedly told party officials she’s considered stepping down from her post to challenge Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in 2022.
The remarks by McDaniel — who before her RNC tenure served as chair of the Michigan Republican Party — came during a closed-door meeting Wednesday with RNC members in Dallas, where she was giving an after-action report on the 2020 election, Politico reported Thursday.
According to Politico, McDaniel complained the first-term Democratic governor had botched the coronavirus pandemic, and got emotional talking about how her two public school children had been unable to return to in-person learning.
She also told about 140 members in attendance that she’d given thought in recent months to running against Whitmer in next year’s midterm elections, Politico reported, citing two unnamed sources.
The news outlet reported others said McDaniel may have been speaking more out of frustration than interest in running for governor.
RNC chief of staff Richard Walters flat-out denied McDaniel was interested in the job, Politico reported.
“Gov. Whitmer’s dismal record of leadership has done lasting harm to Michigan families,” he stated. “Michigan would be vastly better off with a change in leadership, but the chairwoman has no desire to do anything else other than lead the Republican Party to victory in 2022 by taking back the House and Senate.”
McDaniel has deep political roots in the state: Her grandfather, George Romney, served as Michigan governor for three terms, and her uncle is Utah Sen. Mitt Romney, the GOP’s 2012 nominee and a former governor of Massachusetts.
McDaniel still has plenty of time to think about a run; Michigan’s filing deadline isn’t until next April, and the Republican primary isn’t until August 2022, Politico reported. The list of potential Republican challengers also includes John James, an Iraq war veteran who waged unsuccessful 2018 and 2020 Senate campaigns, the news outlet reported.
McDaniel, an ally of former President Donald Trump — he endorsed McDaniel to serve a third term as RNC chair — may find herself in an uncomfortable spot as the party gets ready for the 2024 nominating contest, Politico reported. Though Trump has suggested he could seek reelection, McDaniel has said she’ll be a neutral figure as RNC head, Politico reported.