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Republican National Committee selects Ronna Romney McDaniel to lead party

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RNC Chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel, the former Michigan Republican Party chair, speaks before a Republican presidential primary debate in Detroit. (AP/Carlos Osorio)

Ronna Romney McDaniel was officially elected to lead the Republican National Committee Thursday, becoming the second woman in history to hold the post.

Romney McDaniel, the former Michigan state party chairwoman, was instrumental in President-elect Donald Trump's success in the Wolverine State, the first time it went to a Republican since 1988. Trump won Michigan and its 16 electoral votes by less than 1 percentage point.

With Trump's backing, Romney McDaniel was voted to lead the 168-member RNC Thursday morning during the committee's winter meeting. She replaces Reince Priebus who is leaving the position to become Trump's White House chief of staff.

"I am a mom from Michigan. I am an outsider. And I'm here to make Donald Trump and Republicans everywhere successful," Romney McDaniel said Thursday.

"I am committed to working for a unified and inclusive Republican Party, and that starts right here with this committee," she continued.

Priebus, who served as the RNC's chairman for six years, praised Romney McDaniel Thursday morning as a "great leader" in his outgoing speech to the committee at Washington's Omni Shoreham Hotel.

"As President-elect Trump said last month, [Romney McDaniel] barely slept this [election] cycle because she was so focused on winning. Even when Democrats and pundits were saying it would never happen," Priebus said. "It is that level of passion, along with her commitment to building out the ground, data and digital operation the RNC has been working on for years, that gives me total confidence she is the right woman to lead the RNC."

At 43 years old, Romney McDaniel is the niece of 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney who remained vehemently critical of Trump throughout the campaign.

Romney McDaniel's father, attorney G. Scott Romney, told the Detroit Free Press Thursday morning that he was "very proud" of his daughter.

"I think she handled herself superbly," he said from the meeting.

In her speech Thursday, Romney McDaniel criticized the Democratic Party for making "empty promises" and being the "elite, coastal, redistributionist party of the status quo."

"For far too long, Democrats have hailed themselves as the party of women. As Republicans, we know their so-called monopoly on being the party of women is false, and it is a mindset I intend to change," Romney McDaneil said. "Women are not a special interest group. We care about all issues."

"President-elect Trump's movement gave the forgotten and the ignored a voice and the power to bring change to Washington," she said. "As chairwoman, it will be my priority to amplify those voices who spoke loud and clear last November."

Bob Paduchik, the former Ohio state director for Trump, was named co-chair Thursday as well.

Voting by acclamation, there were no objections to Romney McDaniel, a RNC spokesperson confirmed to TheBlaze.

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