Noem, the RNC’s chairman, muses, saying the GOP needs to “see what we can do better” after a disappointing election.

ORLANDO, Fla. – South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem says she is being encouraged to challenge Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel when the National Party Committee selects its chair for the next two years in January.

Noem, asked during an interview with Fox News if she was considering running for the RNC presidency, said, “We as Republicans really need to evaluate what we’re doing.” The governor then pointed to the setbacks in the 2020 election and 2022 through the GOP and emphasized: “We have to evaluate that and see what we can do better.”

The governor, who last week easily won re-election to a second four-year term to rule the red state of South Dakota, pointed to McDaniel in a separate interview with the Wall Street Journal on Tuesday, asking, “Who loses so much and gets to keep her job?”

When asked by Fox News if she could serve as both RNC chair and South Dakota governor, Noem replied, “Oh god, I haven’t even looked at it.”

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Republican governors, from left, participate in a panel at the annual Republican Governors Association winter meeting in Orlando, Florida November 15, 2022. Pete Ricketts from Nebraska, Kim Reynolds from Iowa, Chris Sununu from New Hampshire, Kristi Noem from South Dakota and Bill Lee from Tennessee.
(Fox News)

McDaniel announced her candidacy Monday during a call with members of the RNC committee, multiple sources on the call told Fox News. Her decision to run for RNC chairman comes as Republicans point the finger after disappointing losses in last week’s midterm election, after failing to win a Senate majority, losing key gubernatorial races and facing the prospect of a razor-thin majority in the House of Representatives It was supposed to be a “Red Wave” election.

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After the 2016 election, former President Trump elected McDaniel — then chair of the Michigan GOP — to head the national party committee. She was re-elected for two-year terms in 2019 and 2021.

In addition to Noem, McDaniel could also potentially face competition from New York Rep. Lee Zeldin, who nearly defeated Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul in the Deep Blue state last week. Fox News reported Monday that Zeldin is seriously considering running for the RNC chairmanship.

Republican gubernatorial candidate Lee Zeldin addresses supporters at his election night party on November 9, 2022 in New York City.
(AP Photo/Jason DeCrow)

Also, Mercedes Schlapp, a former top Trump White House official who is the wife of American Conservative Union Chairman Matt Schlapp, is considering considering the position. The annual ACU Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) conferences in Orlando and Dallas are must-attend dates for the far right and MAGA wing of the Republican Party.

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All 168 members of the RNC committee will vote on the next chair when they gather in Southern California in early January for their annual winter meeting.

McDaniel’s team touts it has the support of nearly 100 committee members.

Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel chairs a GOP unity breakfast on September 15, 2022 in Concord, New Hampshire.
(Fox News)

“I expect she wins,” a committee member, who asked to remain anonymous to speak more freely, told Fox News. “But I hope it’s contested and not a coronation. Competition is good.”

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Emma Vaughn, spokeswoman for McDaniel, said: “Chairwoman McDaniel expanded the map by investing more than ever in state parties, directing tens of millions of dollars to our sister committees, building 38 local minority community centers and employing over 1,000 people each at Senate Battleground State and in 70 House Battleground Districts that recruited over 1 million volunteers who made over 100 million voter contacts.”

Former RNC Treasury Chairman Todd Rickets said, “No one is better placed to lead the Republican Party to victory over the next two years than Ronna McDaniel. During our time together when I was with the RNC, we raised more money for the Republicans than ever before. She has my full support to run again and lead the GOP in electing the next President of the United States and retaking the Senate.”

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