After days of speculation and rumors, Ronna Romney McDaniel, chair of the Michigan Republican Party, was still being touted as the newest head of the Republican National Committee.
But Republican President-elect Donald Trump didn’t confirm those rumors Friday night when he spoke to several thousand people in the Grand Rapids suburb of Walker, one of his stops on a “victory tour” of states that helped him win the presidency on Nov. 8.
He did say that she had done a great job in helping him win the state, noting “She didn’t sleep for six months.” And he gave her a shout-out during a fund-raiser in New York this week.
Several prominent Republicans, including Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette, publicly shared their support of McDaniel as her name was floated as a potential pick to succeed current RNC chair Reince Priebus, whom Trump named his chief of staff after the election. And several news organizations reported that she was going to be the choice, citing unnamed sources.
And the Republican Committee of the Virgin Islands, an organization in which Michigander Dennis Lennox has been involved, sent out a news release praising the choice of Romney McDaniel as the RNC chair.
Romney McDaniel began her political career in 2012 working on the presidential campaign of her uncle, Michigan native, and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. She was elected one of Michigan’s two representatives on the Republican National Committee in 2014 and was elected chairman of the Michigan Republican Party in 2015.
Her accomplishments include turning Michigan red for the first time since 1988, the last time the state voted for a Republican president. In this election cycle, she also helped maintain a 63-47 Republican majority in the state House of Representatives, saw the re-election of two Republicans to the state Supreme Court, and several Republicans to seats on university boards and the state board of education.
She reveled in the Michigan victories at Friday’s rally for Trump.
“We broke the 28-year drought and we delivered for the next presidents of the USA. Last year at this time, a lot of you stood in the winter cold outside this building and I’m so proud that one year later, I’m in the same building as the next President of the United States Donald J. Trump,” she told the crowd Friday night. “They said a Republican could never win Michigan, but I knew better, you knew better and Donald Trump knew better. Never underestimate Michigan. This victory was a movement and message that Americans are tired of being left behind.”
She also celebrated the end of a recount that was requested by Green Party candidate Jill Stein that was officially stopped Friday night when the Michigan Supreme Court denied Stein’s appeal of a lower court’s ruling.
“Unfortunately, there are a few people having a problem with accepting the results. Michigan was one of the states where Jill Stein was throwing her temper tantrum. She only received 1% of the vote, but you once again delivered. You mobilized and volunteered to protect our vote,” she said. “The recount in Michigan is over … Winning once was nice. Winning twice was huge.”
McDaniel is credited with helping swing Michigan for Trump in the 2016 election by a margin of just more than 10,000 votes. The Michigan vote has been front and center in Stein’s fight to demand a recount. On Friday evening, shortly before McDaniel took the stage, the Michigan Supreme Court ruled 3-2 to deny Stein’s appeal that sought to continue a recount of the presidential election, concluding she had no standing to seek a recount because she wasn’t an aggrieved candidate.
Several Michiganders have been or are being considered for roles inside the Trump administration as the president-elect prepares to take over the White House in January. Trump nominated Detroit native Ben Carson to lead the Department of Housing and Urban Development, while charter school lobbyist and supporter Betsy DeVos, wife of west Michigan billionaire Dick DeVos, is Trump’s pick for Secretary of Education. Former presidential candidate Mitt Romney and former Ford CEO Alan Mulally have been mentioned as potential Trump candidates for secretary of state.
McDaniel is a Northville resident who attended Bloomfield Hills Lahser High School.