2016-12-22 / Columns

Another Romney Generation On National Scene

Michigan Politics
By George Weeks

Yet another Romney generation emerged on the national political scene when President-elect Donald Trump last week touted Michigan Republican Party Chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel to serve as the next head of the Republican National Committee.

First came Michigan 1963-1969 Governor George Romney, who made a spirited but failed 1968 bid for the presidential nomination. His son, ex- Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, a Michigan native, lost as the 2012 GOP challenger of President Barack Obama.

Romney McDaniel is the daughter of Scott Romney, Mitt’s older brother (Scott made a failed bid for state attorney general), and of Ronna Romney, unsuccessful Michigan 1994 GOP nominee for the U.S. Senate. Her daughter was her driver.

The 168-member Republican National Committee said it intends to make Romney McDaniel a deputy co-chair prior to a January 2017 vote in which she’s almost certain to become its leader. Current GOP boss Reince Priebus is to become Trump’s White House chief of staff.

Trump, during his Wednesday visit to Grand Rapids, said: “I’m excited to have a highly effective leader in Ronna McDaniel as RNC deputy chair and I look forward to her serving as the Party’s chairman in 2017. Ronna has been extremely loyal to our movement and her efforts were critical to our tremendous victory in Michigan.”

Tremendous indeed. Trump on November 8 beat Hillary Clinton in Michigan by less than half-a-percentage point (just by an edge of more than 10,000 votes) to be the first Republican to carry the state since George H.W. Bush in 1988.

Reacting to Trump, Romney McDaniel said: “I’m deeply grateful and honored to be appointed RNC Deputy Chair. I’m excited to build on President elect Trump’s victory and continue the work of making the RNC a strong institution that has produced historic Republican victories at every level of government.”

Following Trump’s victory, Romney McDaniel was also instrumental in leading forces to ultimately block a recount called for by Green Party presidential nominee Jill Stein. She told Michigan voters: “Michigan was one of the states where Jill Stein was having a temper tantrum. She only received 1% of the vote, but you once again delivered.”

Governor Rick Snyder called Romney McDaniel “an excellent choice” to lead the RNC, saying she “has proven to be an incredible leader. As chair of the Michigan Republican Party, she directed a string of victories, including securing our Republican majority in the Michigan House of Representatives, successful campaigns for our Michigan Supreme Court Justices, and the historic win for President-elect Donald Trump.”

Mitt Romney, the former presidential contender, said “she is about as high-energy and high-powered as they come. Maybe she inherited her grandfather’s zeal for great causes.” Her mother, the earlier Senate contender, said, “she’s so much better than I was. She stands on shoulders of so many. It’s a different era for women in American politics.”

It wasn’t different enough for Hillary Clinton.

Engler Leaving Business Roundtable

Former three-term Michigan Republican Governor John Engler, since leaving office, has been a national leader for business, first as president and CEO of the National Association of Manufacturers, and then as president of the Business Roundtable.

He said last week he will retire next year July1 from the roundtable, a Washington-based organization of about 200 chief executives of major corporations that he joined in 2011.

In his announcement, he said, “The outlook in early 2017 to achieve major components of the Business Roundtable economic agenda is very bright. Tax reform, regulatory relief, and immigration reform are all possible with the new administration and Congress.”

George Weeks, a member of the Michigan Journalism Hall of Fame, for 22 years was political columnist for The Detroit News and previously with UPI as Lansing bureau chief and foreign editor in Washington. His weekly Michigan Politics column is syndicated by Superior Features.

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