Ronna McDaniel, Chair of the Republican National Committee, unambiguously endorsed Tuesday’s mail-in balloting. She also distanced herself from Donald Trump on this issue which is fractured in the GOP after the disappointing election results.
“What we need is our voters needing to vote early,” McDaniel said in a televised interview with Fox News. I have repeated this many times. Many people in 2020 said, “Don’t vote by post, don’t register early.” And that has to be stopped.
McDaniel’s remarks were part of a lengthy discussion about ballot harvesting, the third-party collection and processing of absentee ballots. McDaniel stated that the RNC had “perfected” this practice in states where it is legal, before making a larger point about how to take advantage of mail-in and early voting.
“The discussion was about Democrats having a whole month to bank votes, while Republicans expect it to be done in one day,” Nathan Brand, spokesperson for the RNC, stated in a statement to NBC News. “We weren’t talking about the former President, who encouraged his base early voting and himself voted via mail.”
Trump is the most vocal opponent of voting by mail. He has already launched a 2024 presidential election. Trump continues to make unsubstantiated and false claims that the 2020 election was stolen, in part by vote-by-mail programs operating in battleground states. Last week, he posted on his Truth Social website. He wrote in all capital letters: “YOU CANNOT HAVE FAIR AND FREE ELECTIONS WITH MAIL IN BALLOTS — NEVER. NEVER. NEVER.”
McDaniel’s Tuesday comments came as Georgia’s Senate race between Raphael Warnock, a Democratic incumbent, and Herschel Walker, a GOP challenger, was about to close. Early voting in Georgia has broken records, suggesting Warnock’s edge.
After losses in 2020, 2022, more scrutiny has been placed on the GOP’s early voting shortcomings. Many believed this would lead to a Republican wave. However, Democrats lost the House and retained control of the Senate. Governorships in key states were kept or picked up by Democrats.
“Let’s not hide the fact that the GOP did an extraordinary job of targeting, pushing, and winning vote via mail before Trump, with no merit,” Chris McNulty , former RNC political director, tweeted Tuesday. Trump is the most blameworthy person if you are looking for someone to blame.
McDaniel seeks a fourth term of RNC chair. There are several potential opponents to her, including Rep. Lee Zeldin who lost an unexpectedly close race for governor of New York; MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell; and Harmeet Dahlon, an RNC affiliate from California.
Trump appointed McDaniel to be the RNC chair following the 2016 election. He has not yet commented on the race. At their next winter meeting, the RNC’s 168 members will vote on the matter.