Gov. Mitt Romney may have been passed over for secretary of state, but at least another member of his family has been chosen a leader in the Republican Party. Donald Trump has reportedly picked Michigan GOP chairwoman, Ronna Romney McDaniel, to lead the Republican national committee. McDaniel is the niece of the 2012 Republican presidential nominee.
Trump’s final decision comes as no surprise to people who have been following the race closely. In what started out as a huge crowd of contenders amidst the jockeying for Trump’s approval, the president-elect narrowed down his list to two choices by the end of the week: Georgia political operative Nick Ayers and Ronna Romney McDaniel. By the end of it, insiders had said Trump was leaning towards McDaniel.
The Trump team had mostly divided into two camps in their quest to influence Trump’s mind. Vice president-elect Mike Pence and Steve Bannon pushed Trump to choose Ayers. The Georgia operative had impressed Pence as he was an aide to him. Incoming senior advisor Steve Bannon also pulled for Ayers – wanting, what he viewed, a political outsider.
In the end, it was incoming White House chief of staff Reince Priebus who proved most persuasive. Priebus is the current RNC chairman so naturally Trump viewed his opinion as most relevant. Priebus was impressed with McDaniel's work in turning Michigan red this election year – the first time it’s happened since the state voted for George H. W. Bush in 1988.
At the Friday rally in Grand Rapids, the president-elect showered her with compliments. “What a great job. You and your people have done an incredible job,” he said, referring to work with the Michigan Republican Party.
Trump may have picked McDaniel for the position, but technically the decision is made by the RNC’s 168-member executive committee. However, a Republican president’s endorsement is critical. Numerous members of the committee have said they will pick whomever Trump chooses.
The committee will vote in January.