Mitt Romney's niece leads Republican Party in Michigan

Ronna Romney McDaniel was voted by Republicans Saturday to head the Michigan GOP.  Mitt Romney's niece will serve for two years.

REUTERS/Brian Snyder
Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney (R) and his wife Ann (C) are introduced by vice-presidential candidate U.S. Congressman Paul Ryan (R-WI) during a campaign rally at the Long Family Orchard and Farm in Commerce, Michigan August 24, 2012. Ronna Romney McDaniel served on that 2012 campaign in Michigan.

Michigan Republicans picked a niece of Mitt Romney on Saturday to lead the state party for the next two years.

Ronna Romney McDaniel got 55 percent of the vote on the first ballot before delegates at the Michigan Republican convention made the selection unanimous. Bobby Schostak didn't seek another two-year term after four years as chairman.

Republicans control the state Capitol but haven't delivered Michigan to a GOP presidential candidate since 1988. President Barack Obama defeated Romney, a Michigan native, and picked up the state's electoral votes in 2012.

"We might not agree on everything, but we can agree that seven years of liberal Obama policies have a destructive effect on our nation and we need to get a Republican in the White House through Michigan in 2016," McDaniel, 41, of Northville, told the convention.

The Detroit Free Press reports:

McDaniel, a married mother of two, worked on her uncle's presidential campaign in Michigan and served on the GOP state committee. She has served as a precinct delegate, worked as a manager for the staffing firm Ajilon, as a business manager for the video company Mills James Productions, and as a production manager for SRCP Media.

She is the daughter of Ronna Romney, a former U.S. Senate candidate who attended the convention, and Scott Romney, an attorney who is Mitt Romney's brother.

The over-riding theme of my campaign is unity," McDaniel told reporters. "We have a lot of different factions in our party. We need to get them to coalesce if we're going to be successful.

The other candidates for party chair were Norm Hughes, who worked for former President Ronald Reagan, and Kim Shmina, a nurse.

Mike Farage of Grand Rapids said he voted for McDaniel partly because she wants to make the party more appealing to minorities — "the elephant in the room" for Republicans.

Republicans made some changes in local leadership Friday night as Norm Shinkle in the 8th District and Paul Welday in the 14th District were defeated.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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