Outgoing New York Rep. Lee Zeldin announced Wednesday that he will not run for Republican National Committee chairman, despite widespread speculation that he would challenge three-term chairwoman Ronna McDaniel.
Zeldin, who came within six points of knocking off Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul in November, considered running for the top spot. Despite calls from activists and state party representatives, he ultimately decided against the bid. McDaniel is currently facing challenges from RNC committeewoman Harmeet Dhillon and MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell.
“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. However, the issue is that Chairwoman McDaniel’s reelection appears to be pre-baked, as if the disappointing results of every election during her tenure, including yesterday in Georgia, do not and should not matter,” he said in a statement.
RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel should not run for a 4th term.
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.
It’s time the GOP elects new leadership!
It’s time for fresh blood!
— Lee Zeldin (@leezeldin) December 7, 2022
Amid reports that Zeldin was considering challenging McDaniel, 100 RNC committee members released an open letter declaring their support for the incumbent. Former President Donald Trump urged the RNC to put McDaniel in charge in 2017. Since she took the helm, the GOP has lost control of both chambers of Congress, the presidency, and seven governorships.
Other Republicans have called for McDaniel to step down as RNC chair. (RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: Republican National Committee Reaches Out To 12 Million Voters Ahead Of Midterms)
“Who loses this much and gets to keep their job?” South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem asked after the midterms. “We’ve got to evaluate the leadership of the Republican Party.”
“No Republican National chair has ever remained in office after LOSING a presidential election in the history of the Republican party. Ronna ROMNEY McDaniel is the first. We are rewarding defeat!” longtime GOP operative Roger Stone added.