Lee Zeldin Makes His Decision On Run For RNC Chair
Rep. Lee Zeldin, R-N.Y., speaks during a press conference on tax reform on Thursday, Nov. 16, 2017.
Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call

Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY) announced Wednesday morning that he would not run to become the Republican National Committee’s (RNC) new leader but insisted that “change is desperately needed.”

The congressman, who recently lost a close gubernatorial battle with New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D), lashed out at the status quo on Twitter.

“RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel should not run for a 4th term,” Zeldin tweeted Wednesday morning. “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!”

Zeldin released a longer statement along with his announcement to express his concerns.


“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,” he said.

“However, the issue is Chairwoman McDaniel’s re-election appears to already be pre-baked, as if the disappointing results of every election during her tenure, including yesterday in Georgia, do not and should not even matter,” the congressman added.

Zeldin referred to the Georgia Senate runoff that incumbent Sen. Raphael Warnock (D) won Tuesday night over Republican challenger Herschel Walker. With more than 99% of estimated votes counted, Warnock has 51.31% support, leading by over 92,000 votes, according to Decision Desk HQ. Walker conceded on Tuesday night.

The New York congressman first revealed that he was considering challenging McDaniel in November, shortly after the midterm elections. He was among many GOP leaders concerned with the party’s expected “red wave” that never materialized, which left the Senate in the hands of Democrats and only a slim Republican majority in the House.

Zeldin is one of multiple leaders who have discussed a challenge to McDaniel’s leadership. The Daily Wire recently reported that conservative attorney Harmeet Dhillon said she plans to run against her.

“After three successive terms of underwhelming results at the polls for the GOP, all the while with leaders congratulating ourselves for outstanding performance, I feel that we owe it to our voters to have a serious debate about the leadership of the party and what we must change to actually win in 2024,” Dhillon said in a statement to POLITICO.

MyPillow founder Mike Lindell also said he is “100% running for the RNC chairman.”

McDaniel recently told committee members she would run for re-election through the 2024 presidential election based on their feedback. She claimed to have support from a substantial majority of the 168-member committee.

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