The New York Times reports that former President Donald Trump is now considering North Carolina Republican chairman Michael Whatley as a potential successor to Republican National Committee (RNC) Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel should she proceed with her resignation plans.
As of Tuesday evening, the news source reported that McDaniel had formally notified Trump of her intention to resign subsequent to the South Carolina primary on February 24.
At this time, the former president leads former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley by double digits in the Republican primary race.
According to multiple sources with knowledge of the situation who spoke with the New York Times, Michael Whatley, the leader of the battleground state’s Republican Party and general counsel for the RNC, is the leading candidate that Trump is anticipated to endorse for the position.
According to reports, Trump favors Whatley for the position because he supported “stop the steal” efforts who could advance election integrity efforts as RNC chief prior to the upcoming November election, in which the former president is expected to face President Joe Biden once again.
In June 2019, Whatley was elected chairman of the North Carolina state party, receiving more than fifty percent of the vote against former Lee County Commissioner Jim Womack in the process.
The incoming chairman-elect then advocated for a “reset” of the party prior to the 2020 presidential election, pledging to assist in the re-election of Trump and maintain the Republican control over the Senate seat currently occupied by Ted Budd.
Whatley then went on to oversee Republican victories for Trump, Sen. Thom Tillis, and Budd in 2020 and 2022, respectively, while serving as state party chairman.
He also oversaw the restoration of a GOP supermajority in the state legislature and the transition of the state Supreme Court.
Whatley, who has been re-elected to the chairmanship twice, formerly served as a senior advisor to the Trump-Pence campaign transition teams.
While Trump could endorse Whatley’s potential candidacy, a special election would still be required to allow the 168 members of the RNC across the country to vote before officially making Whatley a new chair.
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