Lee Zeldin Moves To Challenge Ronna McDaniel For RNC Chair

Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY), who had a strong performance despite losing the New York governor’s race, says that he is “very seriously considering” running to become chair of the Republican National Committee (RNC) — challenging the current leader, Ronna McDaniel.

Zeldin, who recently lost in his attempt to unseat New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D), is moving closer to running for RNC chair.

The New York Republican sent out an email to committee members on Thursday.

“It is time for our party to retool, transform, win back the Presidency in 2024, expand our number of Republican-held seats in Congress, and elect the maximum number of down-ballot races across the country,” Zeldin wrote in the email. “The Republican Party needs to be all in to do everything in its power to save America.”

While running one of the closest gubernatorial races in New York in 20 years, Zeldin “created significant inroads for other GOP candidates across the state — including at least ten House seats, one held by Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) chair Rep. Sean Maloney (D-NY),” according to reporting from Breitbart News.

Zeldin’s promising performance in the deep-blue state reportedly led to multiple people — including elected officials and activists — contacting him to ask him to run for RNC chair.

In his email to RNC members, Zeldin argued that the GOP should start competing in every state, not just the states that the party thinks it can win — and that Republicans should be trying to “build relationships” and “advance our proposals” on the issues with voters in “all communities no matter how blue they are.”

“Not only should the Republican Party compete in all 50 states, and ensure we are driving up turnout within our base, but we also need to go to all communities no matter how blue they are, show up often, build relationships, and advance our proposals on education, upward economic mobility, housing, mental health, public safety, and more,” he wrote.

“This means making sure people know what we stand for, and not just what we are against,” Zeldin added.

This news comes as McDaniel, who is considered to be a close ally of former President Donald Trump, announced that she planned to run for a fourth term as RNC chair.

A letter has already been circulated among committee members indicating that McDaniel has enough support to secure another term, as only a simple majority is needed.

“RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel’s supporters are releasing a list of over 100 RNC members who back her re-election – more than the majority she would need to win another term,” Politico reporter Alex Isenstadt wrote in a tweet, sharing an image of the letter.

McDaniel has been criticized as she was RNC chair when Republicans were expected to see a red wave in the midterms, yet they barely won a majority in the House and lost ground in the Senate. The party out of power typically performs strongly during a midterm election year, especially as the president has a low approval rating amid skyrocketing inflation and crime.