Romney Trump-acolyte McDaniel vs. Gretchen Whitmer for governor? It could happen.
Politico reports the Michigander and chair of the Republican National Committee is mulling a challenge of Whitmer in 2022, telling party officials on Wednesday she may step down from her post.
McDaniel’s remarks came during a closed-door meeting on Wednesday with RNC members in Dallas, where she was giving an after-action report on the 2020 election. At one point, McDaniel expressed frustration about Whitmer, her home-state governor, saying the first-term Democrat had severely mishandled the coronavirus pandemic. McDaniel grew emotional as she described how her two children, who are in the public-school system, had been unable to return to in-person learning.
According to two people familiar with her comments, McDaniel also told the roughly 140 members in attendance that she’d given thought in recent months to running against Whitmer in next year's midterm elections.
How serious McDaniel is about running for governor is unclear. Several people familiar with her remarks say that, while she has given consideration to waging a 2022 campaign, she was speaking more out of frustration on Wednesday.
The news comes as McDaniel struggles to navigate her role as party chair in a post-Trump era. Some party leaders are hoping to see the committee distance itself from the ex-president, even as he teases a 2024 bid. But McDaniel has maintained a cozy relationship, steering RNC money toward a donor event for Trump just last weekend.
Whitmer, meanwhile, has seen her approval ratings slip in recent months. Polls show her in a dead heat with another potential 2022 GOP challenger, former secretary of state Candace Miller.