Lee Zeldin is the Republican Party’s future

Lee Zeldin, Glenn Youngkin
Republican gubernatorial candidate Lee Zeldin, right, and Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin raise their hands as they attend a campaign rally on Monday, Oct. 31, 2022, in Westchester, N.Y. (AP Photo/Eduardo Munoz Alvarez) Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/AP

Lee Zeldin is the Republican Party’s future

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The failed leadership of Republican National Committee chairwoman Ronna McDaniel couldn’t bring the red wave to blue areas. Yet Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY), who ran in a gubernatorial race, did. If Republicans need help and need it quickly, Zeldin should become the next RNC chair.

Zeldin’s loss — he fell just under 350,000 votes short of incumbent New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D), a difference of 5% — made him the most successful Republican candidate in New York since the 1994 race between George Pataki and Mario Cuomo.

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Comparing the results to the 2020 presidential election, every county throughout the state swayed Republican. As Alexandra Harris for Times Union explained, “From North Country to New York City, the margin of victory won by Democrats narrowed in each county and grew in Republican-won counties … every New York county saw a decline in Democratic margins compared to 2020, revealing the extent of expanded Republican favor. This is while the number of New York’s registered Republicans has dropped over the years.”

Turnout was also exponential, considering that 5.7 million registered voters cast their ballots for a governor’s race compared to the 8.5 million in the 2020 presidential race.

Despite the loss, momentum for Zeldin never died out. Despite a close race in a Democratic state, there have been calls for Zeldin to replace McDaniel for the national chair. While he may be exploring the option to run for the position, there is a good case as to why he should pursue it.

Republicans have recently been dissatisfied with the midterm election in their party’s ability to take heavy majorities of both chambers of Congress and kept wondering how to move forward. A key to Zeldin’s relative success was that he went hard to show up in Democratic areas, where, frankly, it’s a strategy many Republicans seem to not want to commit to.

In a recent tweet, he said, “Show up in EVERY COMMUNITY, speak directly with people of EVERY BACKGROUND, and passionately promote safety, freedom, education, and economic opportunity for EVERY AMERICAN.”

Running such issues not only helped Zeldin gain appreciation from registered Democrats themselves, but nearly pulled off the coattails to win three NYC city council districts and flipped five Democratic U.S. House seats into red territory.

While there may be calls from some officials to hold the line for McDaniel, others have been pushing for Zeldin to replace her.

McDaniel began her post as chairwoman in 2017 but hasn’t developed much success for Republicans. The elections of 2018, 2020, and 2022 showed Democrats’ ability to hold the wall. Despite her recent attempt to run for reelection as chair, it’s not enough to say, “The wave did happen because we are waving goodbye to Speaker Nancy Pelosi.”

Actions speak louder than words. Zeldin has made more of an effort than McDaniel to win in key blue battleground races.

As newly elected representative-elect Mike Lawler of New York’s 17th District explained in a recent column in the New York Post, “Republicans have an enormous opportunity to expand that breach with time-tested arguments in the coming months and years.”

Zeldin deserves a great deal of credit for running the intelligent campaign that he did. Furthermore, Lawler explains, this is a way for new voices to be among the top and “for fresh conservative ideas that address the challenges of our times.”

Lawler suggested immigrant voters should not be passed up by Republican outreach; party outreach should embrace them. While Democrats tried to push immigrants into a so-called “minority box,” first-generation American immigrants especially value America as the land of opportunity for both social and economic mobility, “free of unnecessary government interference, excellent schools, and safe communities.”

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New York became a case study where the red wave unexpectedly hit a blue state. Without it, control of the House by the GOP may not have happened.

It’s time to replace the current RNC leader with a better leader — one who knows how to campaign and is willing to meet with people of all backgrounds from every community. Lee Zeldin is the future of the GOP.

Craig Angioletti is the author of the Substack The Legislative Route.

© 2022 Washington Examiner

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