Michigan GOP Chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel is in line to lead the Republican National Committee.
President-elect Donald Trump announced McDaniel’s appointment on Wednesday as the RNC deputy chair. That puts her in place to succeed outgoing Chairman Reince Priebus, whom Trump has already tapped as his White House chief of staff.
A supporter of Trump’s during the primary, McDaniel not only oversaw a critical state that helped Trump pull off his upset win but is also the niece of Mitt Romney. The 2012 GOP presidential nominee was a vocal opponent of Trump’s during the primary, but he later walked back his criticism as he made a failed pitch to become secretary of state.
“I’m excited to have a highly effective leader in Ronna McDaniel as RNC Deputy Chair and I look forward to her serving as the Party’s Chairman in 2017,” Trump said in a statement. “Ronna has been extremely loyal to our movement and her efforts were critical to our tremendous victory in Michigan, and I know she will bring the same passion to the Republican National Committee.”
McDaniel has led the Michigan GOP since February 2015 and helped turn the state red for the first time since 1988. Trump praised her efforts last week at a stop in Michigan on his “thank you” tour, telling her and the crowd, “I was very impressed with you. She didn’t sleep for six months.”
The choice of McDaniel is also seen as a victory by Priebus, who reportedly preferred her over Nick Ayers. Some Trump loyalists were pushing for Ayers, an aide to Vice President-elect Mike Pence, to get the job.
In the same statement, Priebus called her “an outstanding fundraiser, and her ability to drive support for our mission of electing Republicans up and down the ballot gives me full confidence that she will be able to continue building on the RNC’s success and organizational strength as we head into important elections in 2017 and 2018.”
Trump also appointed his Ohio state director, Bob Paduchik, to be deputy co-chairman. Both are expected to be voted on next month at the RNC’s winter meeting, but typically RNC members respect the wishes of an incoming or sitting president. So with Priebus’ exit, McDaniel would be the new leader of the RNC with Paduchik as her No. 2.