ALBANY, N.Y. — Rep. Lee Zeldin said Wednesday he will not run for Republican National Committee chairperson, but took plenty of shots at party leaders and its current head, Ronna McDaniel.
But on Wednesday morning, Zeldin called the system preordained for McDaniel to win another term at the party’s helm — which he said the GOP leaders should reconsider, especially after Herschel Walker’s defeat in the Georgia Senate runoff on Tuesday.
“I won’t be running for RNC Chair at this time with McDaniel’s reelection pre-baked by design, but that doesn’t mean she should even be running again,” he said in a statement.
Zeldin added: “Change is desperately needed, and there are many leaders, myself included, ready and willing to step up to ensure our party retools and transforms as critical elections fast approach, namely the 2024 Presidential and Congressional races.”
Zeldin wrote to RNC leaders last month laying out the case for his potential bid after his surprisingly competitive run for New York governor, which he lost by 6 points to Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul in heavily blue New York. The governor’s race also helped Republicans pick up a net three House seats in the state — which proved instrumental to the party narrowly winning back the chamber.
“No matter what, I am committed to doing absolutely everything in my power to help save our country with every ounce of my energy,” Zeldin, 42, continued in the 584-word statement.
He urged the party to better develop its fundraising apparatus, bolster its ballot collection and election integrity efforts, and build its grassroots after Republicans fared worse than expected across the nation on Election Day.
And he said while McDaniel’s bid for a fourth term appears secured, he urged her to step aside — which she has not shown any interest in doing.
“The better path forward would be for Chairwoman McDaniel to listen to and respect the wishes of the actual grassroots voters of our party and allow the RNC to forge ahead with new leadership,” he concluded. “Her greatest service to the Republican Party at this time would be to make room for a new Chair.”