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Harmeet Dhlllion
Harmeet Dhillon in Sacramento, Calif., on Sept. 19, 2019.Rich Pedroncelli / AP file

Ronna McDaniel gets a challenger for RNC chair

Committeewoman Harmeet Dhillon announced Monday night that she is running for the position.


GOP attorney Harmeet Dhillon announced Monday night that she is running to chair the Republican National Committee, presenting another direct challenge to its current chairwoman, Ronna McDaniel.

Dhillon, a committeewoman from California who leads the Republican National Lawyers Association, announced on Fox News that she is jumping into the race.

“Republicans are tired of losing and I think that we really need to radically reshape our leadership in order to win,” she said. "And we can't keep running elections like we did in the 90s and the 2000s."

Dhillon later added, "The party has become a populist party. The base of the party demands populist messages that speak to them and not Chamber of Commerce messages, not neocon messages, not warmonger messages. And I'm afraid that the base of our party is not getting what it needs from our leadership."

Dhillon called on the party to modernize its fundraising and its messaging. McDaniel actually recently named Dhillon as a co-chair of a committee analyzing the party’s performance in the midterms.

Dhillon called on the GOP base to phone their committee members "and tell them that they, too, want change." She'll need members who have already backed McDaniel to reverse their endorsements if she wants to defeat the current chairwoman.

On Monday morning, McDaniel supporters circulated a letter signed by 107 of the 168 members — well over the majority McDaniel needs to be re-elected.

“Ronna McDaniel has grown our Party from the grassroots up: from building a permanent national ground game and establishing a year-round Election Integrity operation to expanding minority outreach and transferring more funds than ever to all 56 states and territories," North Carolina Republican Party Chairman Michael Whatley said in a statement to NBC News in response to Dhillon's challenge.

Former President Donald Trump has not yet weighed in on the race for RNC chair. McDaniel has been supportive of Trump, and he backed her past bids for party chair. Dhillon's law firm also represents the former president.

MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell, a prominent 2020 election denier and staunch Trump ally, announced late last month that he is also running for RNC chair. And another candidate could jump into the race this week.

GOP Rep. Lee Zeldin tweeted that he will announce whether he’s running for RNC chair on Wednesday morning, noting he is waiting until after Tuesday’s Senate runoff in Georgia. Zeldin recently lost a closer-than-expected race for governor of New York.