Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) is backing California attorney and former Trump campaign adviser Harmeet Dhillon in her bid to take the Republican National Committee chairmanship away from Ronna McDaniel, saying in an interview on Thursday, “I think we need a change.”
“I think we need to get some new blood in the RNC,” DeSantis told Charlie Kirk, the founder of conservative Turning Point USA, on Florida’s Voice.
“I like what Harmeet Dhillon has said about getting the RNC out of D.C. Why would you want to have your headquarters in the most Democrat city in America? It’s more Democrat than San Francisco is,” he continued, referencing a letter that Dhillon sent to RNC members about looking into regional offices while keeping their headquarters in Washington.
The Florida governor, who is considering a 2024 presidential bid, lamented the performance of Republicans in the last three election cycles as reason for changing leadership at the RNC.
“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 — that is an environment that’s tailor-made to make big gains in the House and the Senate and in state houses all across the country. And yet that didn’t happen,” DeSantis told Kirk.
DeSantis’s comments come just one day before the RNC committee members will hold a secret ballot vote for several positions, including their chairperson. The RNC is wrapping up candidate forums on Thursday ahead of those votes.
In addition to McDaniel and Dhillon, the staunchly pro-Trump MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell is running to lead the party.
Some Republicans have called for McDaniel to step down, as the party was unable to win the House in 2018, lost the Senate and presidency in 2020 and was unable to flip the Senate last November.
McDaniel, however, has endorsements from dozens of state party chairs and RNC members. She needs the votes from a majority of the 168 RNC members to keep the position.