In a statement, Ms McDaniel sought to allay some of the concerns, saying, “The 168 RNC members choose who will lead the RNC, I hope to gain their support, and that is the most important endorsement.
Committee spokesperson Mike Reed said Ms McDaniel and the committee had always followed the bylaws not to endorse Republican primary candidates. “This policy of remaining completely neutral in the primaries will continue for as long as she is president,” Reed said.
Senior Republican officials close to McDaniel said they were already seeking new arrangements between the RNC and the Trump campaign on donor and data lists, which would provide Mr. Trump with copies of some lists but also leave them available to other candidates through the committee bias. Beyond that, these Republicans said, there are limits to the RNC’s influence in the party primaries.
Ms McDaniel, originally from Michigan, has a golden political pedigree: she is the niece of Senator Mitt Romney of Utah and the granddaughter of George Romney, a governor of Michigan for three terms. She won Mr. Trump’s trust in part by urging him to take trips to his home state during the 2016 campaign, which he credits for helping him win there.
She has told people she has no plans to run for another term after 2022, a person briefed on the talks said, a move that could secure her exit before the 2024 presidential cycle begins in earnest.
So far, no one has appeared to challenge Ms McDaniel, but some influential Republicans are trying to garner support for Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado, who has just lost his reelection bid and is highly regarded by pro-Trump Republicans and Trump skeptics. same in Washington. Mr. Gardner did not respond to two emails asking if he had an interest in the presidency.
Current and former committee members who may prove to be the most formidable have told their associates they will not show up. This includes Mr. Barbour – whose uncle, former Governor Haley Barbour of Mississippi, took over the party after Republicans lost the presidency in 1992 – and Reince Priebus, Mr. Trump’s first chief of staff and former president. of the RNC.