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Zeldin RNC bid gains momentum as party leaders line up behind him

"Imagine what he can do if he is the RNC chair."

Published: December 1, 2022 8:00pm

Updated: December 1, 2022 8:37pm

New York Republican Rep. Lee Zeldin's prospective bid for Republican National Committee leadership is resonating with party big-wigs, even though he has yet to formally announce plans to seek the post.

Calls to replace current RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel have arisen follow the GOP's unexpectedly poor showing in the 2022 midterm elections. The much anticipated "red wave" failed to materialize and the Republicans managed to secure the House of Representatives by a handful of seats.

"We underperformed nationally. There were strategic missteps," said Republican Party of Texas Chairman Matt Rinaldi to the New York Post on Thursday. Rinaldi, in turn, pointed to GOP success in New York races as the deciding factor that carried the lower chamber for the party. Zeldin himself lost his gubernatorial contest against incumbent Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul, but his strong showing in deep-blue New York has been credited with boosting Republicans down-ballot.

"[I]n New York, Lee Zeldin went into communities that Republicans don't traditionally go into and talked about crime and inflation," he continued. "He overperformed in blue areas. He exceeded expectations. Lee Zeldin won us the House majority and he wasn't even the RNC chair."

"Imagine what he can do if he is the RNC chair," he continued.

Last month, McDaniel released a letter signed by 101 of the RNC's 168 delegates indicating they supported her to continue as leader, though Zeldin told the Post this week that "[t]he letter did not have a deterrent effect on me."

At least some delegates have already pledged to back a Zeldin leadership bid, including Bill Palatucci of New Jersey and Jay Shepard of Vermont, per the Post. Zeldin reportedly plans to make a formal decision following next week's Georgia Senate runoff.

My Pillow founder Mike Lindell has also launched a longshot bid for the post.

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