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Inside the Republican Party, Pressure to Change Course, and Leadership After Midterm Defeat

The Republican Party’s broader assessment of former President Donald Trump and the demoralizing midterm election cycle set the Republican National Committee gearing up for an intense race for its chairman and a possibly hostile presidential primary. It ignited an uproar.

The incumbent RNC chairman, Ronna McDaniel, is running for re-election with broad support among the RNC’s 168 members, but dissatisfaction with the midterm elections has already prompted a commission to investigate how the party works. and may get her a handful of challengers. The RNC will also be put to the test in her 2024 primary, neutral as more than a dozen of her candidates may run, including former President Donald Trump, who has close ties to the group. Bylaws mandating sexuality apply.

In summary, Republicans say they are in a moment of self-reflection as they try to secure victory within two years.

RNC member Bill Paratucci said, “‘Identity Crisis’ may be a little overdone, but there is certainly a lot of soul-searching going on about the future and the role of the party.” .

Lamentations about the midterm elections, in which Republicans barely overthrew the House and failed to win the Senate despite lofty expectations, came to a review chaired by Mississippi Rep. Henry Barber and California Rep. Hermit Dillon. are appearing. Committees and the wider party. The two are tasked with investigating party mechanics in the 2022 cycle.

Separately, the RNC is forming an advisory board to “inform the Republican Party’s 2024 vision and beyond,” according to a press release. Panel members, including former Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway, Senator Katie Britt, Republican Alabama and unsuccessful Arizona Senator Blake Masters, are expected to meet with McDaniel “regularly.”

Photo: Republican National Committee Chairman Ronna McDaniel speaks at the campaign rally for Republican Georgia Senator Herschel Walker in Kennesaw, Georgia, December 5, 2022.

Republican National Committee Chairman Ronna McDaniel speaks during the campaign rally for Republican Georgia Senator Herschel Walker in Kennesaw, Georgia, December 5, 2022.

Alex Wong/Getty Images

leadership challenge

More than half a dozen RNC members who spoke with ABC News gave a range of explanations for why the Republican Party underperformed expectations last month, but all expressed a desire to change course after three consecutive losses.

“We are determined to give a very honest review. We need to find out what worked, what didn’t, and the best path to a big win in ’24. “I cannot afford to lose.”

With McDaniel running for a fourth term, the aftermath of the midterm elections is culminating in the race for chairmanship. She’s already been challenged by Dhillon and her CEO of My Pillow and her election opponent, Mike Lindell. New York Rep. Lee Zeldin, who narrowly lost the gubernatorial race, was seriously considering challenging McDaniel before announcing Wednesday that he would not run.

McDaniel enters the race as a front-runner, touting her endorsement from 108 members. That’s well above her 85 man required to win her RNC Winter Games next month.

She’s also backed up by former RNC chairman and Trump’s White House chief of staff, Reince Priebus, and David Bossie, an influential RNC member in Maryland who is close to the former president. In recent weeks, the two have sent letters backing her McDaniel, which was obtained by ABC News.

PHOTO: FILE - Hermit Dillon California Republican National Committee Attorney at her office in San Francisco, CA on Sept. 20, 2017.

Hermit Dillon, a female attorney for the National Committee of the California Republican National Committee, poses for a photograph at her office in San Francisco, Calif., Sept. 20, 2017.

Medianews Group/bay Area NewsVi/MediaNews Group via Getty Images, FILE

“She has a good chance of being re-elected, but after six years as RNC chairman, she will probably face her first opponents.” There is some dissatisfaction with the committee because we have lost the

That frustration is at the heart of Dillon’s challenge, which she and others are pushing for stronger adoption of mail-in ballots and early voting.

“[T]o Famous catchphrase playoffs, Republicans are sick of losing. I think we need to fundamentally reshape leadership to win,” Dillon told Fox News on Monday.

“I have a lot to offer,” Paratucci said before Zeldin withdrew, adding: “My sense is that there is a growing demand for change.”

Still, McDaniel’s supporters said they expected declaring their support for her would be too high a hurdle for challengers to clear.

“A little competition for chairmanship is not a bad thing,” said RNC member Cynthia Henry. “But I think the overwhelming winner will be Rona.”

Photo: Former President Donald Trump attends a rally in support of Republican candidates ahead of the midterm elections November 7, 2022 in Dayton, Ohio.

Former President Donald Trump attends a rally in support of Republican candidates ahead of the midterm elections November 7, 2022 in Dayton, Ohio.

Gaelen Morse/Reuters, FILE

Addressing the Trump Factor

Beyond the speakership, the RNC is also expected to address Trump’s presence in the election campaign, perhaps for the next two years.

RNC regulations mandate that you cannot take sides in the primary election. The RNC paid Trump’s legal fees and gave Trump prominence in his funding appeals. McDaniel also won Trump’s endorsement in his past bid for chairmanship.

The RNC has already stopped paying some of Trump’s attorneys’ fees, and its members predict that the overcrowding of candidates will make it harder for them to participate in the primary.

Still, one of McDaniel’s backing RNC members said she’s taken appropriate steps so far but “hasn’t had enough runways yet to really prove its neutrality.”

Trump’s presence in the primary has already put the RNC leadership in a precarious position.

Since launching his third presidential campaign, Trump has dined with white supremacist Nick Fuentes and anti-Semitic rapper Ye, formerly known as Kanye West, and shared his gripes about the 2020 election. It caused controversy among RNC members by calling for the abolition of the constitution.

In an email exchange with other members reviewed by ABC News, RNC member Oscar Bullock said, “I’m surprised Rona isn’t outraged about this.” We must speak out against racism and bigotry and condemn those who embrace and support it. [sic] to dinner. ”

Bullock did not immediately respond to a request for comment, and a spokesperson for McDaniel pointed to past remarks made by the chairman.

After the email exchange, McDaniel said in a statement, “White supremacy, neo-Nazis, hate speech and bigotry are disgusting and the Republican Party has no place.” murmured “I completely condemn them and all forms of anti-Semitism. There is no place for Kanye, Fuentes, or their views within the Republican Party.”

Photo: File - showing Republican logo and American flag

Shows Republican logo and American flag

NurPhoto via Getty Images, FILE

An RNC member who backs McDaniel said of Trump, “People are pretty strong and somehow very passionate about their position and it’s going to be really hard to convince them to change their minds.” Even the people who bled for Trump are showing cracks. ”

While Trump’s role within the party is an important part of the debate about the future of the Republican Party, some RNC members say supporters of the former president have been skeptical even though many of Trump’s backed candidates were defeated last month. warned against losing the enthusiasm generated by

“Looking at these election results, I think it’s very clear that the party has two options,” another member of the RNC said. Or, the second is to move more centered and more moderate, disappearing with a particularly unexcited base.”

All in all, between the midterm elections, the presidential campaign and Mr. Trump, the GOP is undergoing significant introspection, which many RNC members welcome.

Another member of the RNC, who supports McDaniel, said: “I think a party that doesn’t do self-analysis all the time is a party that’s going to stagnate. It’s a dangerous place.”

“So you better search for souls,” the man added, “or you will lose.”

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