Florida GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis indicated he wanted new leadership at the Republican National Committee ahead of Friday’s vote to elect a chairperson and fill other top positions at the organization.
“I think we need a change, and I think we need to get some new blood in the RNC,” DeSantis told Turning Point USA founder Charlie Kirk in an interview on Thursday.
The popular Florida governor and possible 2024 presidential candidate went on to signal his support for Harmeet Dhillon — one of former President Donald Trump’s legal advisers on his 2020 campaign and the former vice chairwoman of the California Republican Party — to take the reins of the GOP group, citing the failure of the party to make bigger gains in last year’s midterm elections.
“I like what Harmeet Dhillon has said about getting the RNC outside of DC — why would you want to have your headquarters in the most Democrat city in America?” DeSantis said. “We’ve had three substandard election cycles in a row – ’18, ’20, and ’22 – and I would say of all three of those, ’22 was probably the worst given the political environment of a very unpopular President in Biden.”
“Huge majorities of the people think the country is going in the wrong direction,” the governor went on. “That is an environment that is tailor-made to make big gains in the House, in the Senate, and in state houses all across the country, and yet that didn’t happen, and in fact, we even lost ground in the US Senate.”
Dhillon reacted to DeSantis’ support and his criticism of the RNC, indicating that it was reflective of what she’s been hearing from leaders of “all wings of the party.”
“Republican leaders from all wings of the party are hearing what voters are saying & objectively calling out our need to improve — which means a change in leadership & while am not seeking endorsements from any presidential candidate — I appreciate ALL Rep. feedback/support,” Dhillon tweeted.
On Friday, Dhillon will face off against incumbent RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel and MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell in a secret ballot election for the top spot in the GOP group.
McDaniel, who is running for a fourth term, is the favorite in Friday’s election, despite overseeing disappointing results in the last three election cycles.
Among the 168 RNC members, McDaniel has obtained the public support of more than 100 members, according to Politico, while Dhillon has fewer than 30 backing her candidacy.
DeSantis, 44, is considered the most viable GOP alternative to Trump, 76, for the party’s 2024 presidential nomination.
Trump has not endorsed a candidate to lead the RNC, but has supported McDaniel in the past.