Republican Party

01/13/2018 | News release | Distributed by Public on 01/13/2018 15:16

NYT: A Romney Who Is Unfailingly Loyal to Trump

Flagging this new piece from The New York Times' Jeremy Peters.

A Romney Who Is Unfailingly Loyal to Trump
The New York Times
Jeremy W. Peters
January 13, 2018

Ronna McDaniel, the chairwoman of the Republican National Committee, at her home in Northville, Mich. She spends up to six hours a day on the phone raising money. Ali Lapetina for The New York Times

NORTHVILLE, Mich. - She is the very profile of the voter President Trump tends to repel: a soft-spoken, college-educated mother of two who lives in an upscale suburb in one of the most contested battleground states.

This was not lost on Mr. Trump when he picked Ronna McDaniel to be the chairwoman of the Republican National Committee. Neither was the fact that her father is Mitt Romney's oldest brother, and that bringing her into the fold would put an exclamation point on his sublimation of the establishment wing of the party.

Ms. McDaniel, who is 44 and only the second woman to lead the national committee, now faces a challenge that is as personal as it is political. She has to fortify her party in a hostile election environment as it tries to keep control of the House, the Senate and 13 governorships where incumbent Republicans are leaving. That job has been complicated by a wave of retirements by disaffected Republicans, putting more seats at risk in districts like her own in Michigan.

So far, Ms. McDaniel has managed to hold together the factions of the party that are split over their feelings about Mr. Trump but united, for now, in pursuit of conservative policy goals. A relentless fund-raiser who spends up to six hours a day on the phone wringing money from donors, she has helped put the party in a formidable financial position. The Republican National Committee has nearly $40 million in the bank, compared with the Democratic National Committee's $6.3 million.

'It's not been easy for her for a lot of reasons,' said Ron Kaufman, who represents Massachusetts on the Republican National Committee. 'The good news is Ronna understands totally the downside of where we are, as well as the upside. And she understands that our job is to make whatever potential wave there is a ripple.'

Ms. McDaniel remained neutral through the Republican primary in 2016, but enthusiastically embraced President Trump when he won the nomination. Zach Gibson for The New York Times

That 'she's raised a ton of dough' only helps her position in the party and with the president, he added.

She has a close relationship with the president that is perhaps unlikely for a Mormon from suburban Detroit. She has delivered something Mr. Trump intuitively understands: quantifiable results. Not only has she raked in money, but his narrow victory in her home state also helped put him over the top in the Electoral College. 'She won,' he has told people. He has also been known to refer to her as 'my Romney.'

'The president has a pretty sterile view of results,' said Reince Priebus, the former White House chief of staff and party chairman who pushed Mr. Trump to pick Ms. McDaniel as his successor. 'And if the results are the money is being raised and the apparatus is running well, the president is going to be pretty happy.'

Politics being in her blood, Ms. McDaniel worked her way up through various positions in the Michigan Republican Party before being elected as the state chairwoman in 2015.

Mr. Trump has often given Ms. McDaniel credit for telling him he could win Michigan - a prediction that few Republicans or Democrats were willing to make.

'I told Ronna for two years this state was competitive, and she listened to me much more than Democrats did,' said Representative Debbie Dingell, a Michigan Democrat who is old friends with Ms. McDaniel's family. 'I was in union halls talking to people who were scared about trade, who were scared about their pensions. And she was hearing it, too,' Ms. Dingell added.

'I get it,' Ms. McDaniel said. 'I was at the ground level when the movement came through my state.'

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GOPChairwoman Ronna McDaniel