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Former Michigan GOP Chair Ronna Romney McDaniel Elected to Lead RNC

by Nikita Biryukov /
Image: In this March 3, 2016 file photo, Ronna Romney McDaniel, the Michigan Republican Party chair, speaks before a Republican presidential primary debate in Detroit.
In this March 3, 2016 file photo, Ronna Romney McDaniel, the Michigan Republican Party chair, speaks before a Republican presidential primary debate in Detroit.Carlos Osorio / AP

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Ronna Romney McDaniel was unanimously elected on Thursday as the chair of the Republican National Committee.

McDaniel, who is the niece of 2012 Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, replaces outgoing RNC Chairman Reince Priebus, who was selected as President-elect Donald Trump's chief of staff days after the election. She has chaired the Michigan Republican Party since February 2015.

McDaniel will be the first woman to lead the RNC in decades, and the second woman ever to chair the RNC. The first, Mary Louise Smith, chaired the committee for a little more than two years between September 1974 and January 1977.

"I humbled to be the second woman in history elected to lead the Republican National Committee. For far too long, Democrats have hailed themselves as the party of women,” McDaniel said in a speech at the RNC’s winter meeting, according to remarks posted to the committee’s website. “As Republicans, we know their so-called monopoly on being the party of women is false, and it is a mindset I intend to change.”

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During the election, McDaniel served as a delegate for Trump, who nominated her for the RNC post on December 14, 2016. Trump was the first Republican to win her home state in a national election in 28 years.

McDaniel’s ascension comes at a time of strength for the RNC, which after 2016, controls both the House and the Senate, as well as both chambers in 32 state legislatures. In 25 of those states, Republicans hold both statehouse chambers and the governorship. Democrats, by contrast, hold a trifecta in only five.

“We’ve got record levels of red all over the country,” Priebus said at the winter meeting.

Also elected on Thursday was Bob Paduchik, who served as Ohio State Director for Trump’s presidential campaign. Under Paduchik’s leadership, the Ohio arm of Trump’s campaign occasionally feuded — sometimes in public — with the Ohio Republican Party.

Paduchik will serve as the committee’s co-chair. He, too, was elected unanimously.

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