Niece of Mitt Romney is Trump’s choice to lead Republican National Committee

If elected, Ronna Romney McDaniel would be first woman to lead RNC in 40 years

Ronna Romney McDaniel
FILE - In this March 3, 2016 file photo, Ronna Romney McDaniel, the Michigan Republican Party chair, speaks before a Republican presidential primary debate in Detroit. President-elect Donald Trump wants Ronna Romney McDaniel to be national party chairwoman, in part as a reward for the party carrying Michigan for the first time in 28 years. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio, File)

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Michigan’s Republican Chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel is President-elect Donald Trump’s choice to become the new Republican National Committee chair next year.

The niece of 2012 GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney would be the first woman to hold the committee’s top position in 40 years, and her promotion comes after Trump became the first Republican to carry Michigan in 28 years.

Trump praised McDaniel’s loyalty and performance as he made the announcement in a statement Wednesday.

“Ronna has been extremely loyal to our movement and her efforts were critical to our tremendous victory in Michigan,” Trump said in tapping her as a deputy and adding, “I look forward to her serving as the party’s chairman in 2017.”

Mitt Romney, who grew up in Michigan, was a critic of Trump throughout the 2016 campaign. Still, Romney was considered as a candidate for secretary of state, but Trump passed him over.

McDaniel was hailed by members of the committee for remaining loyal to the nominee despite the public disagreement within her well-known GOP family.

Trump has asked Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus to serve as White House chief of staff. The 168-member Republican National Committee is expected to select a new chairman at its winter meeting next month in Washington.

Priebus, who helped guide Trump through the 2016 campaign, had supported McDaniel to succeed him as chairman. However, others within Trump’s transition team had supported former Republican Governors Association executive director Nick Ayers, who is also a senior adviser to Vice President-elect Mike Pence.

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