Leahy and Gulbransen Review Candidates for New RNC Chair as McDaniel Continues to Underperform

Live from Music Row, Tuesday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – host Leahy welcomed all-star panelist Aaron Gulbransen in studio to review the list of possible candidates to replace underperforming RNC chair, Ronna McDaniel.

Leahy: The official guest host of The Tennessee Star Report and the state director for Tennessee of the Faith and Freedom Coalition, Aaron Gulbransen, is here in studio. Ronna McDaniel has served as the chairman of the Republican National Committee since 2017.

Not a really strong track record. In 2018, Republicans lost the House in 2020, and Donald Trump lost the presidency. In 2022, there was an expectation of a red wave that turned into a pink fizzle because we didn’t make any progress in the Senate, and maybe lost one vote.

And in the House, this huge red wave turned into a bit of a trickle. 222 to 213. This doesn’t look like somebody who’s really performed well and yet Ronna McDaniel has announced that she’s running again.

And a letter came from 100 of 168 members of the Republican National Committee saying, well, she did such a wonderful job losing three consecutive elections that we want her back. Now there are challenges.

Harmeet Dhillon, the attorney from San Francisco, Lee Zeldin, the gubernatorial candidate and former congressman from New York State, and Mr. My Pillow, Mike Lindell. All have talked about running. What do you think is going to happen in that race?

Gulbransen: Ronna McDaniel is going to be reelected. We happen to be in one of the main areas of my expertise, which is counting votes on a committee. And you had 100 people sign that letter. Zeldin only jumps in if he thinks he’s actually going to be able to peel off.

Leahy: So he’s been hinting at it. But he hasn’t jumped in. Now, I want to take Harmeet Dhillon to task a little bit. Harmeet, are you listening? Now, by the way, just so you know, Harmett Dhillon represented Robby Starbuck here in the Fifth Congressional District in two failed lawsuits that really probably should never have been brought, where he wanted to get on the ballot.

Let’s be clear. She sued on behalf of her client, Robby Starbuck, the Republican Party of Tennessee. Not exactly a strong recommendation for the next chairman of the Republican National Committee.

Gulbransen: No. And I would venture to say that even if they weren’t inclined to vote for the three members who get to vote on this issue.

Leahy: Here in Tennessee. So just so that you understand how this all works. In each state, the chairman is a member of the committee, and then there’s a man and a woman. There are three times 50 states, plus the District of Columbia, that’s 153. And there are 15 at-large to get to 168.

Gulbransen: And the titles are just for the sake of the order, a National Committeeman and a National Committeewoman. And of course, we have three here in Tennessee. (Inaudible crosstalk)

Leahy: I haven’t talked to Scott [Golden] about this, but why would the chairman of the Republican National Committee, who had to raise that six figures for legal fees, be inclined to support the lawyer whose law firm brought these cases on behalf of Robby Starbuck which had really no chance of winning?

Gulbransen: I haven’t talked to Chairman Golden about this, but I would venture to say my own opinion was I would be shocked if Harmeet Dhillon got any sort of a warm reception from the Tennessee delegation.

Leahy: Oh no. She will not get any positive reception from Tennessee.

Gulbransen: What I do want to say is, though, you have a hundred people that have come out in favor of Ronna McDaniel. Whether or not you think she should be reelected is one thing, and everybody is entitled to their opinion on that.

But the score is already out there, as it were. We’ve seen this since you mentioned the name, in how the disqualified candidate tried to influence the committee here in Tennessee that is running a very public, weird type of campaign talking about who she would hire, as staff for the RNC when the score is already out there.

This is nothing more than a public relations campaign designed to have people on Twitter and other places hear about Harmeet Dhillon who’ve never heard of her before. Maybe it helps her business. It probably does, because when Tucker Carlson says your name, that probably gets people thinking maybe I should hire her for an attorney.

Leahy: She’s a frequent guest on Tucker Carlson and on Laura Ingraham. They like her.

Gulbransen: Yes. But when you say when you’re already out there knowing that there are 100 votes that are not voting for you, and you’re talking about staff and what I’ll say about the staff that she’s tweeted about are woefully under-qualified for any position that she’s talked about.

You’ve disqualified yourself from running for chairman of the RNC not only now but in the future. I have to say, my conclusion is Harmeet Dhillon is running a little Twitter-Fox News public relations campaign.

Leahy: Look at me typing it.

Gulbransen: Look at me. Look at me. I’m so special. And the actual candidacy itself is nothing less than a joke.

Leahy: Speaking of that, Mike Lindell, what chances would he have?

Gulbransen: I got a better chance than Mike Lindell being chairman of the RNC.

Leahy: I think it’s probably a true statement. Okay, let’s go to Lee Zeldin. I think you could argue, that in his candidacy for governor of New York, he lost by, what, seven points?

Gulbransen: 5.6 was the final.

Leahy: He overperformed against a complete lunatic. But four GOP congressional seats flipped, and people argued that was because of his efforts.

Gulbransen: That’s what happens when you have a good candidate at the top of the ticket. I know Lee personally. He would be a great chairman. He’d be great in anything. I think you have 100 people supporting Ronna McDaniel because A: she was Trump’s original choice for the spot in 2017; and B: she raised a lot of money for them.

Leahy: So what you’re telling me is Lee is probably not going to jump in.

Gulbransen: I’d imagine not.

Leahy: Wish he would. Because Ronna McDaniel is not going to make a difference in 2024 at all.

Listen to today’s show highlights, including this interview:

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Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to The Tennessee Star Reporwith Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.
Background Photo “U.S. Capitol” by David Maiolo. CC BY-SA 3.0.


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