GOP Rep. Lee Zeldin, who came very close to beating Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul last month in the New York gubernatorial, announced on Wednesday that he’s holding off for the time being on running for Republican National Committee chair, in what would be a direct challenge to current RNC chair Ronna McDaniel.
Up until Tuesday night, prior to Raphael Warnock winning his Georgia runoff race against Republican Herschel Walker, Zeldin was seriously considering an RNC chair bid for nearly a month. He announced on Twitter that although he will not be running, he encourages Republicans to elect new leadership and does not support a McDaniel reelection.
“RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel should not run for a 4th term. I won’t be running for RNC Chair at this time with McDaniel’s reelection pre-baked by design, but that doesn’t mean she should even be running again. It’s time the GOP elects new leadership! It’s time for fresh blood!” Zeldin wrote.
Last month McDaniel announced that she would seek a fourth two-year term steering the national party committee, which is unprecedented in modern times. So far, the three-term Chairwoman currently has two challengers.
According to Fox News, the full RNC membership of 168 committee members will vote on the next chair when the national party organization holds its winter meeting next month in southern California. Under party rules, the two top posts must be held by one man and one woman. McDaniel’s camp recently released a list of over 100 RNC committee members – well more than the number needed to secure re-election – that they said were supporting the incumbent chair.
Zeldin argued in his statement that “change is desperately needed, and there are many leaders, myself included, ready and willing to step up to ensure our party retools and transforms as critical elections fast approach, namely the 2024 Presidential and Congressional races.”
But he acknowledged that “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.”
Harmeet Dhillon, an attorney who is also an RNC committee member from California and who served as a Trump campaign legal adviser, announced her bid on the Fox News Channel on Monday night.
“Republicans are tired of losing, and I think that we really need to radically reshape our leadership in order to win,” Dhillon said in an interview on Fox News’s “Tucker Carlson Tonight.”
Dhillon told Tucker “we really have to modernize to compete with the Democrats dollar for dollar in the ways they fundraise, the way they deliver their ballots to the ballot boxes.”