Yes, Lee Zeldin should run for RNC chairman

Lee Zeldin
Republican gubernatorial candidate Lee Zeldin greets supporters at the end of a campaign rally on Monday, Oct. 31, 2022, in Westchester, New York. Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/AP

Yes, Lee Zeldin should run for RNC chairman

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The Republican Party suffered monumental failures on election night, Nov. 8. With control of both chambers of Congress and several governorships on the line, the Republican National Committee disappointed on nearly every front, albeit with Republicans gaining an ever-so-slight majority in the House of Representatives. The revelation of the results has many in the GOP questioning who is to blame, what can be fixed, and which approaches need to be changed.

The crosshairs have mainly been put on the House and Senate GOP leadership. But on a national scale, the anger should really be directed toward the chairwoman of the Republican National Committee, Ronna Romney McDaniel.


One of the only reasons the GOP could even get control in the House was due to the states of New York and Florida, where Ron DeSantis and Lee Zeldin aided their candidates in being united in messaging. Both men ensured their candidates ran on anti-crime, pro-student, and anti-bureaucracy campaign issues — and it worked. This approach was resoundingly accepted by the people of New York, where Zeldin got more votes for governor than any statewide Republican candidate since Nelson Rockefeller. Democratic House candidates, such as DCCC Chairman Sean Maloney, were defeated as voters rejected status quo policies that were harming New York. Zeldin ran on issues such as rising crime rates, continuing COVID-19 mandates, and educational failures within New York and exposed Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) and her party for putting the state through a period of disarray and decay.

On a national scale, this should have been the response on the federal level, with anger, passion, and motivation directed at getting out or preventing Democratic Party candidates from holding office. The RNC continued to peddle messaging about inflation, crime, closing schools, and mandates, yet never offered any solutions or alternatives to those problems or gave them a reason to vote Republican.

Blame starts at the top, whether in sports, an organization, or politics. There is a reason that players frequently do not get fired from professional sporting teams, but coaches get their feet held to the fire because they are the ones who are paid to manage. In the same aspect, the chairwoman of the RNC has to be held accountable for the GOP’s failures this cycle. McDaniel has had her string of controversies, which raised questions about the motivations behind her gay outreach plan and an insider fundraising scheme promising an ambassadorship for a donor. Add to that the results in the Senate, House, and presidency in both 2020 and 2022, and it is hard to argue that McDaniel deserves reelection. The RNC needs someone accountable instead of continuing with the status quo of losing.

Zeldin should make a run at the party chairmanship. McDaniel may know the ins and outs of the RNC, but Zeldin has shown the mentality of helping other candidates in his state win. He sacrificed his congressional career to attempt the ultimate upset of an incumbent, deep-blue state governor in Hochul. It was a battle that many did not think could or would be won, but it was the ultimate victory in many ways and may have rescued Republicans from failing to take the House. Zeldin lost, but he united the New York GOP and its candidates in a victorious manner that deserves acclaim and reward.

The fact Zeldin knew what issues New Yorkers would agree on to get them to vote statewide for GOP candidates is nothing short of a remarkable turnaround that resulted in some of the most surprising and important outcomes for the party that conservatives have seen in years.

Zeldin did not even have to campaign as a centrist to earn votes. He simply hammered Democrats on their failures while offering solutions for Republicans across New York that independents could buy into. What the party needs right now is a unifying message like that one, which resonates with voters of all backgrounds to reject failed leftist policy stances and ideologies. That is why Lee Zeldin needs to be the next chairman of the Republican National Committee.


Kenneth Cody is chairman of the Cocke County, Tennessee, Republican Party.

© 2022 Washington Examiner

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