Report: Lee Zeldin Exploring a Bid for RNC Chair

Congressman Lee Zeldin, Republican candidate for governor of New York, speaks onstage during his election watch party in New York City on November 8, 2022. - New York Governor Kathy Hochul, the Democratic incumbent and the first woman to serve in the post, fended off a stiff challenge from Republican …
YUKI IWAMURA/AFP via Getty Images

Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY) is reportedly considering a bid for chair of the Republican National Committee (RNC) following his candidacy in the Empire State’s gubernatorial race, according to reports.

Activists and supporters across the country have asked Zeldin to run for the position following his unsuccessful bid to unseat incumbent New York Democrat Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) in blue New York. And according to Zeldin’s media consultant, John Brabender, the Republican is exploring the option. 

“It’s likely that he will at least explore it. … He’s fielding calls, talking to people, listening to them, but it has not gone beyond that,” Brabender said, NBC News reported. 

It remains unclear if current RNC chair, Ronna McDaniel, or her cochair, Tommy Hicks, will run for reelection, but Zeldin’s consideration follows a relatively lackluster midterm election performance for Republicans, despite the fact that the GOP had six million more votes than Democrats in House races. 

While all signs point to the GOP taking the House, Democrats maintained a slim majority in the Senate, and some Republicans are demanding change moving forward. 

“The people whose job it was to win but did not win should go do something else now. We’re speaking specifically of the Republican leadership of the House and the Senate and of the RNC,” Tucker Carlson said last week.

“It is nothing personal; some of them are, no doubt, nice people, but they took hundreds of millions of dollars to paint the map red, and they didn’t,” he continued, explaining that they “shouldn’t be promoted.”

“No one should ever be rewarded for failure,” he said. “If there is a truly conservative principle in life, it is the principle of the meritocracy. You reward excellence. You do not reward mediocrity, and when you do, things fall apart.”

While Zeldin’s loss came as a disappointment to conservatives, many of whom hoped that endorsements from big name politicians such as Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) would push him over the edge, he lost by less than six percentage points, marking one of the closest gubernatorial races in two decades. His bid also paved the way for other victories across the state, flipping multiple New York congressional seats in favor of the GOP, including the seat held by Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) chair Rep. Sean Maloney (D-NY):

The news follows a recent YouGov poll, which found a plurality, 42 percent, of Republicans expressing the need for the Republican party to take a “different kind of approach” in the next election. 


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