Ronna McDaniel, the chair of the Republican National Committee, called for unity among members of the party after a lackluster showing in the midterm elections delivered a narrow GOP majority in the House but failed to take control of the Senate.
McDaniel, who is up for reelection in January, warned that “infighting” among members of her party will pave the way to victory for Democratic candidates in future elections.
“We can’t hate each other so much that we forget what the Democrats are doing to this country. We can’t be so mad at each other that we say, ‘I’m not going to vote for this Republican because they like this candidate, or they’re a RINO or establishment or MAGA,” McDaniel told John Catsimatidis on his WABC 770 AM show in an interview that aired Sunday.
“We have got to come together, because if you look at many of these elections right now, the Republican voters were difference makers. We have got to come together because the Democrats are destroying our country. Unity is going to be the word of the day if we’re going to win in 2023 and 2024. … But if we have infighting no one is attracted to our party,” she said.
McDaniel pointed to Georgia where Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock held off a challenge by Republican Herschel Walker as indicative of the “ticket splitting” that is taking place among Republican voters.
Gov. Brian Kemp, a Republican, cruised to a reelection victory over Stacey Abrams on Nov. 8 by more than 8 percentage points even as Walker was forced into a runoff against Warnock because neither candidate got more than 50% of the vote.
Warnock then defeated the former NFL star in the Dec. 6 runoff, cementing Democratic control of the Senate.
She said the Republican Party has to figure out why voters aren’t backing GOP candidates across the board.
“The RNC, we don’t pick the candidates. The voters do. We don’t do the messaging. That’s up to the campaigns. But we do do turnout. The one thing we’re seeing right now is that turnout was sky high, but Republicans didn’t vote for every Republican candidate,” she said.
Karl Rove, a longtime Republican strategist and adviser to former President George W. Bush, pinned the blame for the midterm elections on Donald Trump for endorsing candidates who turned off voters.
“We had a lot of candidates, who, at the end of the day, Republicans … couldn’t vote for. … The reason was we ended up with some knuckleheads who were endorsed by President Trump without proper vetting,” Rove told Catsimatidis.
“Quality of candidates matters. What we saw in this election was the return of the ticket-splitters. It was a bunch of Republicans who said, ‘I can’t bring myself to [vote for] somebody who is subpar or unqualified for office,’” he said.
Rove mentioned Ohio where Republican Gov. Mike DeWine defeated his Democrat challenger by more than 25 points on Nov. 8, but Trump-backed J. R. Majewski lost by 13 points in a race for a House seat.
“Trump endorsed [Majewski] because he had a big display in his front yard for Trump in the 2020 election. Trump had seen it and said, ‘That’s my guy.’ [Majewski] claimed to be a combat veteran. Turned out he was never in combat,” Rove said.
”We had time after time after time where we gave away seats like that,” he added.