Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said it is time for “a change” and for “new blood” to lead the Republican National Committee – just a day before RNC membership will vote to select the next chair to lead the GOP.

RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel is seeking a fourth term and is up against Harmeet Dhillon – an RNC committee member from California, the CEO of the Center for American Liberty and co-chair of the Republican National Lawyers Association; and MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell.

DeSantis, in an interview with Charlie Kirk – shared with Fox News Digital before airing Thursday – slammed the current RNC leadership.


Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis' handling of a Cuban immigration surge may serve as a lens into his policy platform should he run for president in 2024.

Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ handling of a Cuban immigration surge may serve as a lens into his policy platform should he run for president in 2024.
(AP Photo/Lynne Sladky, File)

“We’ve had three sub-standard election cycles in a row – ’18, ’20 and ’22 – and I would say of all three of those, ’22 was probably the worst given the political environment of a very unpopular President Biden,” DeSantis said. “Huge majorities of the people think the country is going in the wrong direction.”

Republican National Convention Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel

Republican National Convention Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel

“That is an environment that is tailor-made to make big gains in the House and the Senate and state houses all across the country and yet that didn’t happen, and in fact, we even lost ground in the U.S. Senate,” DeSantis continued.

“And so, I think we need a change. I think we need to get some new blood in the RNC,” he said.

DeSantis began his second term as Florida governor earlier this month. DeSantis’ comments come amid rumors he is mulling a 2024 White House bid. 

“I like what Harmeet Dhillon has said about getting the RNC out of D.C. Why would you want to have your headquarters in the most Democrat city in America? It is more Democrat than San Francisco is.”

Attorney Harmeet Dhillon is California's national committeewoman for the Republican National Committee.

Attorney Harmeet Dhillon is California’s national committeewoman for the Republican National Committee.
(Anda Chu/MediaNews Group/Bay Area News via Getty Images)

DeSantis suggested moving RNC headquarters to “real parts of the country.” 


“I think you get it in real parts of the country. You attract people who want to live in those parts of the country, not D.C. insiders,” he said. “But I do think we need some fresh thinking.”

DeSantis stressed the need for “grassroots Republicans to power” the RNC with “volunteering and donations.”

“I think it is going to be very difficult to energize people to give money and to want to volunteer their time with the RNC if they don’t see a change in direction,” DeSantis said.

DeSantis said that for his second successful gubernatorial campaign in 2022, his team assumed they “weren’t going to be involved with the RNC at all, because they weren’t raising the kind of money they needed to be raising.” 

As for the RNC, DeSantis said it "needs to be less consultant-driven."

As for the RNC, DeSantis said it “needs to be less consultant-driven.”
(RNC/Milwuakee 2024 host committee)

“Our get-out-the-vote and ground operation – we funded that. We focused a lot on low-propensity voters,” DeSantis explained, saying they were “very successful.” “But that was really being driven by our agenda, our accomplishments, and us putting a lot of dollars behind this important ground game.”

As for the RNC, DeSantis said it “needs to be less consultant-driven.” 

“This money that’s going in needs to go to ultimately winning elections, and not to be lining the pockets of so many consultants,” he said. “So, we need huge transparency on that.” 

DeSantis said one of the reasons he was successful was because his voters trusted him.


“There is not a lot of trust between the grassroots and the RNC up in D.C.,” DeSantis said, noting that when he has held fundraisers for the GOP, he has done well, but when he holds fundraisers for himself, instead of the party, “we raise much more money.”

Kirk told Fox News Digital that DeSantis “is listening to the grassroots, which overwhelmingly wants to see a change at the RNC.”

Kirk, the founder of Turning Point USA, said the majority of Republican voters “want the consultant class to take a back seat to the base, and he understands that.”

Charlie Kirk is the founder and executive director of Turning Point USA.

Charlie Kirk is the founder and executive director of Turning Point USA.
(Tristan Wheelock/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

“My hope is that the 168 members of the RNC hear what he has to say loud and clear,” Kirk told Fox News Digital.


The race for RNC chair comes after the 2022 midterm elections that gave the GOP a razor-thin majority in the House of Representatives. However, Republicans failed to win control of the Senate, despite months of campaigning and party officials predicting a “red wave” election.

The RNC membership will choose the next chair in a secret ballot vote during the national party’s winter meeting in Southern California on Friday.

Ron DeSantis cruised to re-election on Nov. 8.

Ron DeSantis cruised to re-election on Nov. 8.
(Octavio Jones/Getty Images)

During her tenure as RNC chair, McDaniel has raised $1.5 billion – the most raised by any party chair.

McDaniel was also endorsed by a number of former RNC finance chairs, including Todd Ricketts, Ray Washburne and Ron Weiser.

McDaniel has garnered endorsements from more than 100 members of the Republican National Committee – a number that would far exceed the simple majority of the 168 to secure her fourth two-year term as RNC chair.

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