GOP members criticize RNC's Ronna McDaniel for spending, weak grassroots work for 2024
“Now going into 2024, with the worst-ever financial situation, what's the solution for winning?" asked Arizona RNC National Committeeman Tyler Bowyer.
As the Republican National Committee had its annual meeting this past week in Las Vegas, several GOP members expressed concerns about the party’s leadership going into the 2024 election cycle, with its “worst-ever financial situation” and limited focus on both grassroots efforts and supporting the 2020 alternate electors.
After the failure of a “red wave” to materialize in the 2022 midterm elections and as the GOP looks to take back the White House, Republican Party members have criticized the lack of aid that both the 2020 alternate electors and grassroots have received as the RNC is experiencing financial trouble. Some are pointing to a lack of leadership from RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel.
Ahead of the RNC’s annual meeting, former GOP presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy called for McDaniel to resign. At the beginning of January, Ramaswamy posted on his X account, "The Republican Establishment has made us a party of losers. Where is the accountability for years of losing: 2018, 2020, 2022 & 2023? Grassroots conservatives across the nation are joining me to end the culture of surrender and losing. Resign, Ronna. Add your name to the list: http://FireRonna.com”
Ramaswamy isn’t the only Republican critical of McDaniel. Local-level Republicans have also expressed their concerns with how the RNC is being run. Cobb County (Ga.) GOP Chairwoman Salleigh Grubbs told Just the News on Thursday that she had reached out to McDaniel after the 2022 election cycle regarding election integrity concerns.
An RNC election integrity team had gone to Georgia and told Grubbs that they were there to help address election integrity issues. However, when Grubbs mentioned concerns regarding a particular race, she was told that the RNC "didn't care about the outcome” of that particular election.
Because of that response, Grubbs emailed McDaniel about the issue, who she says never responded to her. A regional director then reached out to Grubbs on behalf of McDaniel, but Grubbs wanted McDaniel to respond directly. Grubbs reached out to McDaniel again but purportedly never heard back.
“Most GOP chairs feel like she's so far removed from the little people that they don't try to get in touch with her,” Grubbs said of McDaniel. Grubbs added that it was “completely disingenuous” for the RNC to come to Georgia saying they had “an election integrity team” and were “there to defend the ballot,” only to later explain that “certain races will be defended and others won't.”
Amid reports that McDaniel has not used party funds effectively, Grubbs said that it would be for the good of the party for her to step aside. How McDaniel is running the RNC “is very bad for local parties because most people” make "no distinction between the RNC and local parties,” Grubbs said.
Grubbs also said that “people spoke out already when they demanded change” during the RNC chair election last year. “They wanted to see Harmeet [Dhillon] put in – but unfortunately because of the structure at the RNC, they weren't successful with that.”
Meanwhile, Arizona RNC National Committeeman Tyler Bowyer told Just the News on Friday that “The RNC is in a bad financial situation.” He explained that in the RNC budget resolution passed on Friday, $5 million of a line of credit was included. While it’s “normal” for the RNC “to have line of credit,” what isn’t normal is “to have debt built into the budget,” Bowyer said.
He added that, adjusting for inflation, “last year was the lowest year of fundraising in 30 years for the RNC.” Bowyer also said that the RNC should cut down on administrative and overhead costs and put more money towards get-out-the-vote efforts and transferring funds to state parties.
He noted that if the RNC did all the programmatic activities necessary to win, then “people would be less concerned about overhead costs.” But the “RNC has an incapability of doing that,” Bowyer said, as it’s “part of the D.C./beltway culture, which hasn't made the RNC as nimble as it needs to be in order to be successful.”
“If they're not doing programmatic stuff, then they’re not going to win,” Bowyer added. “They were funding program stuff at a higher level last election cycle and didn't win.” The RNC had a better budget ahead of both the 2020 and 2022 elections and “still didn’t win,” he continued. “Now going into 2024, with the worst-ever financial situation, what's the solution for winning? The grassroots is rightfully concerned about that.”
Bowyer said that he spoke during the budget discussions at the RNC meeting and explained that he didn’t see any plans for Arizona. “There's been no plan delivered to me for Arizona. So how can I support a budget that has excess spending here, going into debt, when there’s no plan for my state, one of the most critical to win for the presidency?” Bowyer said he asked.
Nonetheless, the RNC budget passed.
Bowyer added that it doesn’t matter who the RNC “leader is as long as they get the job done. Right now, the job is not getting done – it speaks for itself.”
Bowyer and Georgia GOP Chairman Josh McKoon worked on a resolution to defend the Republican electors in nominating and electing a president. The resolution was passed after it was shortened from its original length, both Bowyer and McKoon said.
Bowyer said that the RNC was working with the GOP alternate electors for the 2020 presidential election after irregularities were reported and before Congress certified the results, according to a transcript of McDaniel’s testimony before the Jan. 6th House committee. Since then, “It's been pretty infuriating to see the party not really do enough for the people involved because the left is using it as an attack vector ahead of the election,” Bowyer continued.
Many GOP electors from the 2020 presidential election either have been or are being prosecuted in several swing states for allegedly falsely claiming that they were “duly elected.”
McKoon told Just the News on Friday that he thinks “it’s important for the RNC to speak to" the plight of the 2020 GOP alternate electors, "since there was no formal statement in the two-and-a-half years that this was going on. It's a really great thing that the committee unanimously put this out here, where we stand on supporting the electors. Not everything we wanted in the resolution passed, but there was definitely material, concrete progress.”
Last July, in support of the Georgia alternate electors, the state Republican Party announced that it had launched a website defending them against Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis’ investigation. The website explains what the electors did, the precedent for their actions, and the lawsuit that was pending in 2020. Willis' behavior has thrown her investigation into turmoil after revelations about her conduct of staffing the prosecution and other integrity issues came to light.
McKoon also said regarding the possibility of removing McDaniel from the chairmanship, that “barring a special-called meeting" before the RNC convention in July, "there’s no opportunity to seek to exercise the removal provisions of the RNC’s rules – it takes a supermajority. I think the consensus view is that those numbers are not there,” which is "why there was no attempt to move down that road" during this RNC meeting. "I don't see it happening at present because I don't think support is there for removal,” he added.
While Grubbs said that McDaniel wouldn’t respond to her, McKoon noted that McDaniel has responded whenever he has reached out to her.
The RNC didn’t respond to a request for comment.