Zeldin Momentum Begins To Pick Up

Zeldin Momentum Begins To Pick Up

Zeldin Momentum Begins To Pick Up

The election 2022 postmortem continues. While the Republicans have won the House by the barest of margins, their performance in Senate races was an obvious failure. At this point, the best the GOP can hope for is a Herschel Walker runoff win in order to preserve the 50/50 split with Kamala Harris as the tiebreaker.

With such a poor performance when we were expecting much more of a “red wave,” the consensus has become that there has to be a change in leadership. While the House and Senate Republican leadership issues are still in flux (McCarthy isn’t speaker yet, though he is the Republican candidate, and Mitch McConnell had to survive a challenge on the Senate side), it’s become accepted and expected that there has to be a change at the top of the Republican National Committee. And there is only one name that has garnered widespread support at this point – Lee Zeldin.

Zeldin has already been floated as a candidate to succeed Ronna McDaniel as RNC head, but the groundswell of popular support is continuing to grow.

“We underperformed nationally. There were strategic missteps,” said Republican Party of Texas Chairman Matt Rinaldi to the New York Post on Thursday. Rinaldi, in turn, pointed to GOP success in New York races as the deciding factor that carried the lower chamber for the party. Zeldin himself lost his gubernatorial contest against incumbent Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul, but his strong showing in deep-blue New York has been credited with boosting Republicans down-ballot.”

“[I]n New York, Lee Zeldin went into communities that Republicans don’t traditionally go into and talked about crime and inflation,” he continued. “He overperformed in blue areas. He exceeded expectations. Lee Zeldin won us the House majority and he wasn’t even the RNC chair.”

“Imagine what he can do if he is the RNC chair,” he continued.”

As many at the time noted, Zeldin did so well in New York, despite not beating Kathy Hochul (more’s the pity) that his smart campaigning and long coattails are being credited with flipping the House seats needed to give control to the GOP. The most satisfying knockout of election night was arguably the ouster of Representative Sean Patrick Maloney – who had moved districts in order to give himself an “easier” race, and was also the head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

The Republican red wave did show up in New York – it just didn’t get big enough to overcome the deep blue New York City districts for Lee Zeldin. But the kind of success that made Kathy Hochul sweat out her re-election should be tapped for the national party. And the New York Post editorial board has also joined the “draft Zeldin” party.

He understands how to campaign, and the essentials of fighting on all fronts — including a robust early-voting effort, something that all too many local Republicans rejected merely because Donald Trump doesn’t like it. (Which is crazy: Even if you oppose early voting in principle, not getting your people out when the Dems are doing it is just electoral suicide.)”

While Zeldin didn’t quite pull off a win in deep-blue New York, he came closer than any GOP gov candidate has in decades. He also beat a Democratic incumbent to win his own House seat back in 2014, and fought several tough campaigns to keep it.”

He’s a mainstream-conservative Republican who should be acceptable to every wing of the party — and he has a record of not wasting money on overpriced consultants.”

None of which is to dump on incumbent RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel, except that the party hasn’t exactly flourished under her leadership; it just got slammed in her home state of Michigan.”

The party could use a good national spokesman, where McDaniel’s been almost invisible. Zeldin has plenty of experience dealing with hostile liberal media.”

McDaniel has been a top of the ticket party loyalist – meaning that she supported Donald Trump, but it doesn’t seem like anyone else downticket got much help. Her desperate spin that the whole point was to get rid of Nancy Pelosi as speaker was poor consolation on an election night that should have been much bigger. The national party didn’t seem to have any control over candidates, letting Democrats interfere with primaries and watching Donald Trump anoint candidates because he liked them personally. Where was McDaniel when Trump decided to back Dr. Oz? What is the plan to deal with getting out the vote in early voting states? Where was the tightly focused national Republican message? There were so many missed opportunities. And after this many missed chances, it’s time for new leadership. THIS is the guy we need at the top of the RNC for the next election cycle.

Zeldin is now “seriously considering” running for RNC chair. Good. We need someone who is willing to set a national agenda for winning at the national party level. Ronna McDaniel had her chances and didn’t deliver. It’s time to start over and start fighting.

Featured image: Lee Zeldin by Gage Skidmore via Flickr, cropped and modified, Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0)

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1 Comment
  • Kevin says:

    You do know that changing “the messenger” with a new, shiny object will not alter the outcome of republican election failures? The issues that have been a “ball around the neck of conservative candidates include: “stop the steal” (isn’t it shocking that issue so rarely comes up anymore … I wonder why?), “eliminating access to abortion” (even in strongly conservative states limiting access to abortion fails) and “GLBTQ equality” (bi-partisan support for gay marriage). The loses by conservatives will continue to rack up.

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