After disappointing midterms, Texas GOP votes unanimously for a new national leader

Republican National Committee chair Ronna McDaniel speaks in Franklin, Wisconsin, on Oct. 28, 2022. By a vote of 62-0 on Saturday, Dec. 10, 2022, the State Republican Executive Committee passed a resolution saying it had lost confidence in her. (Angela Peterson/Usa Today Network Via Reuters, Angela Peterson/Usa Today Network Via Reuters)

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Frustrated with the outcome of the midterm elections, the executive committee of the Texas GOP voted unanimously Saturday to call for new leadership at the national party.

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By a vote of 62-0, the State Republican Executive Committee passed a resolution saying it had lost confidence in the chair of the Republican National Committee, Ronna McDaniel. The resolution said she “must be replaced” but did not endorse a challenger.

“Under Chairwoman McDaniel’s leadership, the GOP lost both houses of Congress and the White House, and seriously underperformed in 2022 by further losing ground in the Senate and only barely winning a majority in the House,” the resolution said, adding that new leadership is necessary to “address deficiencies in fundraising, messaging, GOTV and election integrity.”

The resolution puts the state party on the front lines of those agitating for a new RNC chair after the Nov. 8 election. Texas GOP chair Matt Rinaldi had already endorsed a potential challenger to McDaniel, New York U.S. Rep. Lee Zeldin, though Zeldin announced last week that he would not run.

McDaniel's reelection campaign responded to the Texas resolution with a statement emphasizing that her decision to seek another term was "member-driven."

"Support for the Chairwoman has only grown since her announcement and she looks forward to speaking with each and every member to discuss how the party can continue building upon our investments and make the necessary improvements to compete and win in 2024," McDaniel spokesperson Emma Vaughn said in the statement.

The Texas resolution is the latest example of Republican hand-wringing over the disappointing 2022 midterm outcomes. That has at times extended to former President Donald Trump’s role in the party’s misfortunes, though the SREC did not mention him in the resolution.

McDaniel has kept the RNC aligned with Trump, while the Texas GOP has also generally embraced Trump. Rinaldi said in January that Republicans are the "bold party of Donald Trump," though he has become a far more vocal fan of one of Trump's possible 2024 rivals, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.

But this not the first time the Rinaldi-led Texas GOP has been at odds with McDaniel. Last year, Rinaldi and the SREC denounced the RNC's formation of a "Pride Coalition" for LGBT Republicans, calling it an example of "identity politics."

Texas Republicans generally had a good election, defending all statewide offices by decisive margins. But SREC members cited disappointment with the results nationwide as Republicans captured the House majority by a smaller-than-expected margin and failed to flip the Senate.

Texas Republicans get three votes when the 168-member RNC meets next month for its chair election: Rinaldi, the state party chair; Toni Anne Dashiell, the state’s Republican National Committeewoman; and Robin Armstrong, the state’s Republican National Committeeman. Dashiell is one of over 100 RNC members who have already backed McDaniel for reelection, more than enough to win another term.

More opposition has emerged since then, including California RNC member Harmeet Dhillon and MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell. While the Texas resolution did not endorse a McDaniel opponent, it made a reference to Dhillon, saying "a viable candidate who has the experience and vision to address the above problems has offered herself for RNC Chair."

The anti-McDaniel resolution was offered by Rolando Garcia, an SREC member from Houston, and it generated a short discussion before the unanimous approval. Garcia said “anyone with a pulse would be better than” McDaniel.

“The issue is, why was it that we only had a trickle in the House and we lost control of the Senate, or at least 50-50 in the Senate?” said Francisco “Quico” Canseco, a former congressman from San Antonio who serves on the SREC. “Something is desperately wrong when we cannot energize the American public when the issues are so, so strong.”

Rinaldi acknowledged that he had publicly backed Zeldin but did not say who he would support now that Zeldin has declined to run. He estimated he has received as many as 1,500 emails related to the RNC chair race and said all but one support new leadership.

In addition to Dashiell, U.S. Rep.-elect Monica De La Cruz and U.S. Rep. Tony Gonzales of San Antonio have backed McDaniel for another term. Dashiell wrote a Daily Caller op-ed earlier this month that said McDaniel's leadership has been "invaluable" to keeping the state red.

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