Ron DeSantis calls for ‘new blood’ in RNC leadership, moving party HQ out of Washington

Ron DeSantis
‘It’s going to be very difficult to energize people to want to give money, to want to volunteer their time at the RNC, if they don’t see a change in direction.’

After three straight election cycles of disappointing GOP returns, Gov. Ron DeSantis added his name to those calling for a change in leadership at the Republican National Committee (RNC).

He also suggested moving the party headquarters from Washington.

In an interview with Turning Point USA co-founder Charlie Kirk that aired Thursday, DeSantis — a front-runner for the Republican nomination for President in 2024 — said his party needs “to get some new blood in the RNC.”

He went on to praise former Donald Trump adviser Harmeet Dhillon, who is challenging incumbent RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel.

“We’ve had three substandard election cycles in a row — ’18, ’20 and ’22 — and I would say of all three of those, ’22 was probably the worst given the political environment of a very unpopular President in (Joe) Biden. Huge majorities of the people think the country is going in the wrong direction. That is an environment that is tailor-made to make big gains in the House, in the Senate, and in the Statehouses all across the country, and yet that didn’t happen. And in fact, we even lost ground in the U.S. Senate,” he said.

“I think we need a change, and I think we need to get some new blood in the RNC. I like what Harmeet Dhillon has said about getting the RNC out of D.C. Why would you want to have your headquarters in the most Democrat city in America?”

He added, “We need some fresh thinking. And here’s the thing — just practically speaking, you need grassroots Republicans to power this organization with volunteering and donations. I think it’s going to be very difficult to energize people to want to give money, to want to volunteer their time with the RNC, if they don’t see a change in direction.”

The election for RNC Chair takes place Friday at the group’s winter conference in Dana Point, California. Only the 168 members of the RNC are eligible to vote. Of those members, 101 signed a letter backing McDaniel for a fourth consecutive term more than a week after a lackluster Midterm performance by Republicans nationwide — except in Florida.

Other prominent Republicans have since thrown their support behind McDaniel, including former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, Wisconsin GOP Chair Brian Schimming and Vermont GOP Chair Paul Dame.

U.S. Sen. Rick Scott, DeSantis’ predecessor in the Governor’s Mansion, tweeted his support of McDaniel Thursday, saying she “has played a major role in helping turn Florida red and fighting for conservative values across the state.”

But Dhillon has also garnered some noteworthy endorsements, including nods from Kirk, state GOP Chairs from Arizona, Massachusetts and Washington, and major party donors like Home Depot co-founder Bernie Marcus and Uline founder Richard Uihlein.

Several state parties issued votes of “no confidence” against McDaniel, including Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Louisiana and Texas. A similar motion failed in Florida when too few members attended a meeting.

Florida Republican Executive Committee Chair Joe Gruters called the meeting after receiving a petition with 30 signatures from REC members, but only 71 of 256 members showed up, 58 fewer than is needed for quorum.

For his part, Gruters said he was backing McDaniel.

“Party politics is a team sport,” he said. “Every time I asked Ronna for anything at the RNC, she always delivered, and she will continue to do well when she wins the race next week.”

Also running for RNC Chair is Mike Lindell, the founder of MyPillow, an outspoken Trump supporter and noted election denier.

Jesse Scheckner

Jesse Scheckner has covered South Florida with a focus on Miami-Dade County since 2012. His work has been recognized by the Hearst Foundation, Society of Professional Journalists, Florida Society of News Editors, Florida MMA Awards and Miami New Times. Email him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @JesseScheckner.


  • Nancy F. Banister

    January 26, 2023 at 4:42 pm

    Thank you, Rhonna, for your leadership, but it is time to step down. Harmeet is a good fit for new blood and chairmanship. Yes, move the headquarters completely away from Washington, D.C. (the most undemocractic and left-wing area in the country). Look at Harmeet’s accomplishments and tell me she is not a better choice for what is happening in this country.

    • eva

      January 27, 2023 at 3:00 pm

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  • tom palmer

    January 26, 2023 at 5:08 pm

    Let the GOP tilt to the far-right and show who they really are

  • Joe Biden

    January 26, 2023 at 5:43 pm

    We need new Hitlers. Death penalty for drug dealers, no bail, no teaching certain subjects, slave labor, high prices, every crime is a felony etc.

  • Time2go

    January 27, 2023 at 8:36 am

    Ronna May be nice bout clearly not effective, the Governor is right. We need new blood and move the RNC apparatus out of D.C.

  • Elliott Offen

    January 27, 2023 at 9:50 am

    We want death penalty for jaywalking. Ashley “Fentanyl Halloween Candy” Moody is soft on crime. Need worse conditions, more corruption, and more human rights violations in Florida prisons.

  • Who

    January 27, 2023 at 5:04 pm

    Who wants to be new blood in a party of dying old men no ideas? Lol

  • Mother Superior Slapshot, Bishop Hedman Academy

    January 28, 2023 at 11:30 am

    Just listen to him, bless his heart: “Why would you want to have your headquarters in the most Democrat city in America?” asks the Florida governor. Oh, I don’t know, maybe because it’s the capital of the United States of America and you’re talking about your party’s efforts to lead America? Or perhaps you’d like to set up your new GOP headquarters in Richmond, you little chubby rebel.

Comments are closed.


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