Lee Zeldin won the hearts and minds of many conservatives following the 2022 election. His overperformance against Gov. Kathy Hochul in New York helped win several House races down-ballot that ultimately delivered control of Congress back to Republicans. That and Ron DeSantis forcing through redistricting in Florida despite Republican opposition were the deciding factors.
Zeldin’s success resulted in a push to get him to challenge Ronna McDaniel for RNC Chair, and he has made his decision: He’s not going to run.
He put out a statement on Wednesday morning explaining his reasoning, which essentially boils down to the fact that he believes the race is rigged to ensure McDaniel wins.
Read my full statement: pic.twitter.com/k9nHaG8GCT
— Lee Zeldin (@leezeldin) December 7, 2022
Frankly, I find this move pretty disappointing, and it gives me pause in ever thinking Zeldin could lead the RNC with the vigor and vision needed to succeed. Even if he believes McDaniel has made enough promises to rig the outcome, running against her would still be a worthwhile effort. It’s not like we are talking about a political campaign that demands millions of dollars and months of one’s life. Running for RNC chair is about making phone calls to 168 people, making the case, and letting the chips fall where they may. Zeldin could have run if only to show opposition and force McDaniel to do the work.
Fortunately, we have another option who isn’t backing down from the fight. As RedState has reported, Harmeet Dhillon is running to unseat McDaniel, and she deserves to be supported. The way to do that is to pressure your representatives who do have a vote, letting it be known the status quo isn’t acceptable.
McDaniel has been a disaster. She’s presided over three straight lost elections since becoming RNC chair, with 2022 being the most inexcusable. Her fundraising tactics have angered many normal voters (she does the ridiculous “5x matching” garbage), and she’s used the RNC as a personal slush fund. As Zeldin notes, she also previously pledged to not run for a fourth term.
If the RNC doesn’t change direction here, it will deserve to lose in 2024. I don’t want that to be the case, but the ball is in their court.