It was a miracle he was even there at all.
Mike Lindell never really had more than an elementary understanding of how the Republican National Committee operated. Nevertheless, he insisted it was only a matter of time before he’d be in the GOP’s corner office.
Except, there was one major problem with his plan: It was all a dream. He never had the support of the actual members.
The pillow magnate’s fledgling bid to take over the RNC ended Friday when he lost in overwhelming fashion on the first ballot, with just four votes out of 167 cast. (Ronna McDaniel won the election with 111 votes.)
Lindell was serious about his bid to lead the RNC. The problem was, no one else ever saw him that way.
“The pillow guy? That’s kind of a joke,” one RNC member told The Daily Beast ahead of the party’s winter meeting in Dana Point, California, where Lindell made the final push.
An ally of challenger Harmeet Dhillon called the Lindell bid “a complete sideshow” and said members would desperately try to avoid his calls.
On Friday afternoon, the MyPillow CEO’s campaign ended, after he was trounced by fellow RNC candidates Ronna McDaniel and Harmeet Dhillon.
Despite his countless appearances on Steve Bannon’s “WarRoom” podcast, the 168 members wanted little to do with the boastful businessman, as he earned himself a measly four votes.
In an interview with The Daily Beast on Wednesday morning, Lindell’s makeshift RNC campaign manager Sherronna Bishop, who in recent months got her home raided by the FBI, said the pillow maven was not backing down.
On Tuesday night, Lindell held a reception for RNC members, which Bishop said was “great” and “very well attended.” In reality, one RNC member who spoke to The Daily Beast said it was scheduled at the same time as other meetings and had sparse attendance. Still, despite the questionable attendance, Bishop said Lindell fielded a “lot of questions” stemming from “lots of concern” over how the RNC is currently being run.
But another RNC member at Lindell’s meet-and-greet said “he accepted” that it would be “a tough road” to secure a victory. Unlike other candidates who had a handful of public supporters along the way, Lindell only had one: Louisiana national committeewoman Lenar Whitney, according to four members supporting a mix of Dhillon and McDaniel, told The Daily Beast.
“She is a longtime friend of Mike Lindell’s,” one of the members said of Whitney, who added that the Louisiana national committeewoman would be tasked with rattling off the pillow magnate’s nomination speech.
“He’s great, super optimistic,” Bishop added, going into the Friday voting, while insisting he was destined to pull off the upset.
That upset never materialized.
In a series of three interviews ahead of the RNC race with The Daily Beast, Lindell was persistent in his belief that he would—with MyPillow magic—seemingly overnight turn the RNC (what he refers to as a “corporation”) into a powerhouse marketing machine, something the world has never seen before.
“This is a secret ballot, no machines, isn’t that something,” he said in one of the interviews, where he boastfully declared that members would flip to support his campaign in private.
“This isn’t for the public to vote,” he continued, “why don’t you wait till this thing is over next week, and then I will give you the story when I win.”
Pressed on possibly declaring victory pre-emptively, the pillow CEO insisted on taking the RNC crown in a few days.
“Well, why wouldn’t I win? I am more qualified,” he declared. “I [have] done my due diligence for over two months now.”
While he characteristically had all the confidence in the world, the pillow CEO always lacked a basic understanding of how the RNC operates.
Perhaps even more importantly, heading into another election cycle, he failed to understand the concept of independence when it came to the 2024 presidential nomination process. Unlike McDaniel and Dhillon—who both pledged to be neutral in the 2024 Republican GOP presidential primary—Lindell was all-in for Trump.
Likewise, Lindell never fully understood the politics behind the 168 members and who wields power. For example, he didn’t know who D.C. conservative grassroots leader Morton Blackwell was. (Throughout the race, Blackwell was a very public Dhillon supporter.)
Asked by The Daily Beast if he could share names of his alleged mysterious RNC supporters, Lindell said, “They don’t need to be attacked by The Daily Beast.”
Lindell burst into laughter when presented with the idea that he had, at most, a handful of RNC members supporting his candidacy, which both of his competitor’s camps agreed upon.
“Do you even know how this works?” he responded to the criticism that he’d whipped very few votes. “Wake up!”