Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY) announced Wednesday he will not seek the position of chairman of the Republican National Committee but did call for current Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel to step down amid recent GOP underperformance.
Zeldin was widely seen as the strongest opponent to McDaniel after a strong performance in the New York gubernatorial race last month in a blue state.
In a lengthy statement, Zeldin said one of the reasons he is not running for chairman of the RNC is because he claims McDaniel’s reelection appears to be “pre-baked” by the RNC.
“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,” Zeldin said.
Zeldin stressed that change is needed in Republican leadership, with “the grassroots frustrated, deflated, and defeated.”
“The better path forward would be for Chairwoman McDaniel to listen to and respect the wishes of the actual grassroots voters of our party, and allow the RNC to forge ahead with new leadership. Her greatest service to the Republican Party at this time would be to make room for a new chair,” Zeldin said.
McDaniel has come under fire for a bevy of loses under her leadership, most recently with Republican Herschel Walker falling to Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock in the Georgia runoff. She faces two declared opponents for reelection as RNC chairwoman: Harmeet Dhillon, lawyer and RNC committeewoman, and Mike Lindell, the CEO of MyPillow and a conservative activist.
The incumbent chairwoman has already secured enough commitments from RNC members to be elected, according to Politico, despite vocal opposition to her reelection.