McCarthy allies tried to persuade moderate Democrats to switch parties

Ronna McDaniel takes the stage in front of Kevin McCarthy at an election night party in Washington, DC on Tuesday.
Ronna McDaniel takes the stage in front of Kevin McCarthy at an election night party in Washington, DC on Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc./Getty Images)

Ronna McDaniel, chair of the Republican National Committee, told members that she intends to seek re-election for another term — hoping to lead the party through the 2024 presidential campaign, according to people familiar with a conference call Monday.

As allegations mount over a disappointing mid-election cycle for Republicans and after Democrats retain their Senate majority, public discontent spreads as the party advances to leadership elections in the House, Senate and RNC.

On a call earlier this afternoon, McDaniel told members she intended to run for a fourth term – and asked for their support.

It has garnered private support from about 100 members, an adviser said, even as appetites for new leadership swell through some sectors of the party.

She was first chosen to head the RNC when former President Donald Trump took office.

The two have worked closely over the past five years, with occasional clashes, but he has not publicly signaled his intentions on who he would like to see at the helm of the national party.

Possible challengers: A potential challenge could arise from South Dakota, as Gov. Kristi Noem has been taking calls from top GOP donors urging her to run for the RNC’s chair, CNN has learned.

Sources familiar with the matter said Noem, who slid for re-election last Tuesday, has been contacted by several major RNC donors seeking a leadership change after an overwhelming midterm cycle for Republicans.

“I think the party would like to have another woman in the chair,” said a person familiar with Noem’s draft efforts. The Committee’s charter provides that the Chair and Co-Chairs must be of the opposite sex.

Noem’s communications director Ian Fury declined to confirm or deny attempts to recruit Noem for the high-profile position.

It’s unclear if Noem is interested in the job at this point. Sources said the South Dakota Republican, previously touted as a potential running mate if Donald Trump launches a successful bid for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination, received a call from the former president immediately after her re-election victory. She was invited to appear at his expected 2024 campaign announcement on Tuesday, these sources said.

Republican Congressman Lee Zeldin, who made a better-than-expected but ultimately unsuccessful bid for New York governor earlier this year, has also taken calls encouraging him to run for RNC chairman, a source with knowledge of the talks told CNN. NBC first reported that Zeldin was taking calls urging him to run.

Meanwhile, Tommy Hicks, the committee’s co-chair, said in a statement Monday he would not seek re-election for a third term. Hicks, who has served as co-chair for four years, said in a letter to RNC members it was time for him to focus on his family.

Trump has also maintained a close relationship with McDaniel and Hicks, though Republicans have speculated whether there will be a shake-up in the RNC following Tuesday’s disappointing GOP interim results.

After the midterms, “somebody new has to run and clean the RNC,” a Trump aide told CNN.


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