East Lansing — Michigan Republicans chose Ronna Romney McDaniel as their new national committeewoman at a Saturday morning meeting of their state committee.
Romney, the niece of 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, was elected in a single vote and will fill out the term of U.S. Senate candidate Terri Lynn Land.
A potential battle between tea party activists and mainstream GOP members didn’t materialize as the other two candidates asked the committee to choose Romney by affirmation-or voice vote- after a secret ballot count showed Romney the clear winner.
“You’re going to have your differences like any family, but we have to keep focused on what we need to do,” Romney said.
In a brief speech she pledged to help unite the party and expressed confidence Land will win the U.S. Senate seat from which Democrat Carl Levin will retire at the end of this year.
The other GOP committeewoman nominees were Sandra Kahn of Saginaw, president of the 1,000-member Women’s Federation of Michigan; and Mary Helen Sears, a township trustee from the Upper Peninsula’s Houghton County.
Republicans had to choose a new national committeewoman because Land resigned at the end of last month to focus on her U.S. Senate candidacy. Republicans choose one commiteeman and one committee women to represent them on the party’s national committee.
McDaniel is the daughter of Mitt Romney’s brother, Scott. The Northville mother of two, 39, helped lead “Women for Mitt” during the 2012 campaign and briefly considered running for the U.S. Senate seat Land is seeking.
She will serve until 2016, when Land’s four-year committeewoman term was to end.
Land likely will battle Congressman Gary Peters, D-Bloomfield Township, for the seat Levin has held nearly 36 years. Early polls show them in a tight race, with Land holding a slight lead.
GOP national committee elections used to be routine until former state lawmaker David Agema of Grandville was chosen as the state party’s national committeeman in May 2012, defeating ex-GOP State Chairman Saul Anuzis. Land was chosen at the same time.
Agema’s outspoken anti-gay views, posted on the Internet, have created turmoil and cries for his resignation from party members and leaders. Some thought Saturday’s meeting would revive the squabble because Sears had posted similar views on a district party web site in the U.P.