EXCLUSIVE: Florida Rep. Byron Donalds Officially Announces Run For Conference Chair

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Michael Ginsberg Congressional Correspondent
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Florida Rep. Byron Donalds officially informed colleagues Thursday that he will run against New York Rep. Elise Stefanik to serve as House Republican Conference Chair.

Preparing for his second term in office, Donalds would be the most-recently elected member of the leadership team, and the only black member. Most other leadership candidates officially declared their bids Wednesday, circulating letters to the prospective Republican conference. Donalds previewed his messaging proposals for the GOP in a previous interview with the Daily Caller, arguing that the party must expand its outreach to non-traditional media and constituencies.

“Our party needs fresh ideas and perspectives when outlining our commitment to the American people. Over the past two years, it’s been abundantly clear that families across the nation are dissatisfied with the political climate and are desperate for change,” Donalds wrote to the conference in a letter obtained exclusively by the Daily Caller.

Read the letter here:

Dear Colleague.. 1 by Michael Ginsberg on Scribd

One of at least five black Republicans who will serve in the 118th Congress, Donalds told the Daily Caller in an October interview that Republicans must engage minority voters, many of whom don’t engage with traditional conservative media. In the congressman’s home state of Florida, Hispanic voters supported Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis by 18 points, a 13 point improvement on his own 2018 performance.

“We’ve got to be more responsive with black media. The Breakfast Club is one of the largest morning shows in the country, syndicated throughout the U.S. Republicans are never on there. I know because I listen to The Breakfast Club. And so I think you have to go and you have to really try to put yourself into these areas and be confident about your positions,” he said at the time.

Republican leader Kevin McCarthy of California announced Wednesday that he will run for Speaker of the House, while Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana will pursue Majority Leader. Neither is expected to have initial competition, although a slim Republican majority could doom McCarthy’s chances of holding the Speaker’s gavel. National Republican Congressional Committee chairman Tom Emmer of Minnesota, Republican Study Committee chairman Jim Banks of Indiana, and Chief Deputy Whip Drew Ferguson of Georgia are all running for whip.

Stefanik, who entered leadership in May 2021, also announced her second run Wednesday.

Fox News host and Daily Caller co-founder Tucker Carlson argued Wednesday night that GOP leadership in Congress and at the Republican National Committee should be replaced due to under-performance in the midterms. McCarthy and his allies repeatedly projected a “red wave,” with the GOP holding at least 230 seats. Several elections analysts expect the GOP to hold around 225 seats.

Donalds is highlighting his appearances on mainstream and left-leaning media outlets as an example for other Republicans in presenting their ideas to hostile audiences. A video compilation produced by his team shows clips of the congressman appearing on CNN and Politico, interspersed with floor speeches. (RELATED: ‘I’m Allowed To Have My Own Thoughts’: Byron Donalds, Brianna Keilar Clash Over Reported Black Caucus Rejection)

“The media is more focused on their narrative than the needs of the people, and we must bring the message back to serving our constituents, not clickbait. The press isn’t going to do our bidding—it is incumbent upon our members to drive the party’s message across all communication mediums and defend our agenda at every turn.,” Donalds wrote.