Ronna Romney McDaniel — who as state Republican chair helped deliver Michigan to a Republican presidential nominee for the first time since 1988, and had to navigate some thorny family politics to do so — became the Republicans’ national party chair Thursday, with President-elect Donald Trump’s backing.
Her vote was by acclamation — which wasn’t surprising given that the president-elect had given her his endorsement for the post last month.
By ascending to the post, Romney McDaniel takes over a party emboldened by Trump’s election in November, which was largely brought about by the Republican nominee breaking through what was considered a Democratic firewall in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin — three states that together hadn’t backed a Republican nominee since Ronald Reagan in 1984.
Trump won the three states together by fewer than 80,000 votes, or about six-tenths of a percent of the 14 million votes cast in those three states. In Michigan, the margin was less than 11,000 votes.
Romney McDaniel led the Michigan Republican Party even as her own family split over Trump’s candidacy. Her uncle, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who was the party’s nominee for president in 2012, loudly denounced Trump, saying his boorish behavior disqualified him from being president.