Nov 17, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Scoop: Republican Governors Association names Iowa's Kim Reynolds new chair

Kim Reynolds and her husband

Reynolds and her husband at a Trump rally in Sioux City, Iowa, on Nov. 3. Photo: Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

The Republican Governors Association has elected Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds to serve as chair and Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee to serve as vice chair for the 2023 cycle, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: Reynolds and Lee, who both cruised to re-election in last week's midterms, will assume control of the organization at a critical moment for the direction of the Republican Party. Both governors were endorsed by former President Trump, whose role as the GOP's de facto leader is being strongly questioned as he launches his 2024 comeback bid.

Details: Reynolds and Lee were both chosen unanimously at the close of the RGA's annual conference Tuesday, taking over from current co-chairs Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey and Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts.

  • Reynolds had previously been serving as vice chair.
  • Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves was also elected policy chairman.

Other members of the RGA's executive committee include:

  • Brian Kemp of Georgia
  • Doug Burgum of North Dakota
  • Eric Holcomb of Indiana
  • Henry McMaster of South Carolina
  • Greg Abbott of Texas
  • Kevin Stitt of Oklahoma
  • Greg Gianforte of Montana
  • Glenn Youngkin of Virginia

The intrigue: Ducey and other governors attending the RGA conference gave former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie a huge ovation on Tuesday after he pinned the blame on Trump for Republican losses in three consecutive elections.

  • Reynolds and Lee are far more pro-Trump than Ducey, whose relationship with the former president soured over Ducey's refusal to overturn the 2020 election results in Arizona.
  • Reynolds campaigned with Trump at a rally in Iowa on Nov. 3, days before a midterm election in which many of Trump's favored candidates in competitive races were wiped out.
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