The disclosure that Ronna McDaniel is planning to step down this month because the chief of the Republican Nationwide Committee has set off a brand new spherical of jockeying between two of the identical males who battled for the co-chairman submit final yr.
As he did final yr, Donald J. Trump, the Republican front-runner for the White Home, seems more likely to again Michael Whatley, an election-denying ally — this time, although, as Ms. McDaniel’s alternative.
However Mr. Whatley, the chairman of the North Carolina Republican Social gathering, was not profitable final yr. And whereas the previous president wields broad affect over who leads the occasion, his energy will not be absolute. And Republican committee members will not be in lock step.
“It seems like a struggle is breaking out for chair with conservatives lobbying for Drew McKissick (SC) to take over as interim chair,” Tyler Bowyer, a committee member from Arizona, wrote on X on Tuesday night time.
It was Mr. McKissick who prevailed within the co-chairman contest final yr, when Mr. Whatley, who was trailing within the vote, withdrew from the competition after the second poll. Underneath the occasion’s guidelines, Mr. McKissick would change into the committee’s interim chairman after Ms. McDaniel steps down and till her alternative is elected by the committee.
Mr. McKissick, the chairman of the South Carolina Republican Social gathering, has in latest days expressed his urge for food for the job on to Mr. Trump, a number of individuals conversant in the state of affairs mentioned.
But as Mr. Trump marches towards securing the G.O.P. nomination, it’s Mr. Whatley who’s broadly seen because the inheritor obvious to Ms. McDaniel, based on a number of individuals conversant in the discussions.
“The nominee will get his approach,” mentioned Ed Broyhill, a committee member from Mr. Whatley’s state of North Carolina.
However Mr. McKissick has his followers.
“Actually, he can be a best choice of mine,” Oscar Brock, a committee member from Tennessee, mentioned on Wednesday. Mr. Brock, who opposed Ms. McDaniel’s re-election because the committee’s chairwoman final yr, mentioned Mr. McKissick’s curiosity within the submit was obvious when the 2 spoke on Tuesday.
However even he acknowledged that Mr. Trump was getting nearer to with the ability to name the pictures.
If Mr. Trump turns into the presumptive nominee, he mentioned, “it can most likely remove loads of competitors.”
Robin Armstrong, a committee member from Texas, mentioned on Thursday that he had reached out to Mr. McKissick to supply his assist.
“I believe he’s extra of a pure match,” he mentioned, mentioning Mr. McKissick’s earlier victory over Mr. Whatley for co-chairman. “I believe it simply is sensible. It might be a seamless transition.”
Mr. McKissick declined to remark, and Mr. Whatley didn’t reply to a request for remark. Neither did the Trump marketing campaign or Jason Miller, a senior adviser to Mr. Trump who on Wednesday shared on social media an anonymously sourced Fox News story about how Mr. Trump is recommending Mr. Whatley for the job.
Mr. Whatley, the present basic counsel for the Republican Nationwide Committee, has gained favor with the previous president by embracing his “cease the steal” mantra. And in his management place with the North Carolina occasion, he represents a key state that Mr. Trump received in 2016 and 2020.
Mr. Broyhill mentioned on Thursday that Mr. Whatley had returned the state occasion to electoral success and monetary solvency after his federally indicted predecessor had left the group in disarray. He mentioned Mr. Whatley was in a powerful place with Mr. Trump’s backing.
Ms. McDaniel is predicted to step apart after South Carolina holds its Republican presidential major on Feb. 24.
Invoice Palatucci, a committee member from New Jersey who has been vital of Mr. Trump, didn’t assist Ms. McDaniel’s re-election final yr.
“I made it clear after the depressing outcomes of the 2022 midterms that many people have been uninterested in dropping and wanted to do issues in a different way,” he mentioned in an electronic mail.
He acknowledged that Mr. Trump would probably management the method of selecting her alternative.
“What course of?” he wrote in a follow-up message. “It’s all the time the prerogative of the presumptive nominee to run the occasion.”
Morton Blackwell, a longtime committee member from Virginia, equally shrugged off the prospect of a heated competitors.
“The vote’s going to be unanimous when the identify comes down,” mentioned Mr. Blackwell, who supported Mr. McKissick for occasion co-chairman final yr and described him as having “many buddies and a powerful conservative background.”
However, he mentioned of Mr. McKissick: “He understands the dynamics of this factor.”