Republicans reelect Trump-backed McDaniel as party chairperson

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DANA POINT, Calif., Jan 27 (Reuters) - The Republican National Committee reelected Ronna McDaniel to a fourth term as chairwoman, giving a mandate that would keep the Donald Trump-backed candidate in the top party post through the 2024 U.S. presidential elections.

McDaniel beat challenger Harmeet Dhillon by 111 votes to 51 for another two-year term at an RNC members meeting in Dana Point, California, according to a party official.

Dhillon's supporters expressed unhappiness with the party leadership, saying recent disappointing election results by Republicans meant there needed to be change in the way the RNC is led.

During her first three terms as Republican party chair, McDaniel has overseen Trump's 2020 presidential election defeat as well as a weaker-than-expected performance in the mid-term elections last November.

"It is critical for our chances in 2024 that those who supported my campaign rally around our party and its candidates," Dhillon, a California lawyer who has represented Trump in election-related litigation, said in a statement.

Dhillon supporters who spoke to Reuters did not say their vote to oust McDaniel was an anti-Trump vote, but rather that it reflected grassroots unhappiness with the party structure.

Trump endorsed McDaniel for RNC chair in 2017 after she helped deliver her home state of Michigan in the 2016 presidential election in which he defeated Democrat Hillary Clinton. The former president announced in November he will make another run for the White House in 2024.

Trump had endorsed dozens of high-profile Republicans in midterm elections, but he ended with a mixed record in the most competitive contests.

Additional reporting by Steve Holland and Ismail Shakil; Editing by Caitlin Webber and Alistair Bell

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