New York Republican Rep. Lee Zeldin, who lost a surprisingly close gubernatorial race last week to Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul, is being promoted by GOP elected officials and party activists for the chairmanship of the Republican National Committee, one of his consultants said.
“I can confirm he has received numerous calls asking him to consider running for RNC chairman,” John Brabender, Mr. Zeldin’s media consultant, told The Washington Times Monday.
Mr. Brabender on Sunday first told NBC News, “It’s likely that he will at least explore it. … He’s fielding calls, talking to people, listening to them, but it has not gone beyond that.”
Current RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel, an ally of former President Donald Trump, did not mention whether she planned to seek reelection at the party’s winter meeting in January, and neither did Tommy Hicks, her co-chair. Ms. McDaniel’s third two-year term expires this year. The Washington Times has reached out to the RNC for comment.
Newly elected New York Republican lawmakers told The Washington Times that Mr. Zeldin’s gubernatorial campaign was key to Republican candidates’ success around the state, which brought out GOP voters in numbers not seen since 1994.
“Lee Zeldin’s command performance, despite coming up a little short, and quality candidates who really worked tirelessly in their districts, produced a great win for us,” Rep.-elect Marc Molinaro said.
The incoming lawmakers also said that thanks to the efforts of the New York GOP in their state, House Republicans will secure a majority, albeit a slim one, in the coming days.
New York Republicans flipped four Democratic seats this year. The state party is sending at least eleven GOP lawmakers to Washington this term. One race in Syracuse, where the GOP candidate is leading, is still uncalled.
“Every member will get us to the majority, but the road to the House majority went right through the state of New York,” Mr. Molinaro said.
Rep.-elect George Santos said that he and his fellow Republicans from New York will deserve “all the credit”
“I flipped the seat that Joe Biden won by 10 points by winning it by nine and a half points without any outside help. I did it on my own with my staff and the people on the ground, because I ran a campaign for the people run by the people,” Mr. Santos said.
“There was no special interest in [my] campaign, so I think we take all the credit. This is New York’s majority, If we’re in the majority, and if anybody wants to argue it, then you’re going to have a hard time with the eleven members of the delegation,” Mr. Santos said.
A legal team led by former Republican Rep. John Faso and former New York GOP Chair Ed Cox, starting two years ago, successfully battled state Democratic lawmakers and Ms. Hochul in court to throw out a heavily gerrymandered map, and a new one was redrawn.
Following that setback for the Democratic Party, Mrs. Hochul faced a tougher-than-expected election against Mr. Zeldin, a race that animated the GOP on messaging centered on law and order and pocketbook issues.
“The governor even said late last year that she was going to do everything in her power to gerrymander New York’s maps to help the Democrats keep the majority,” Rep.-elect Mike Lawler of New York said. “So, I think [Mr. Faso and Mr. Cox] played a pivotal role here, in ensuring we had a fair set of maps.”
“And I think New York, based on where things are shaking out in the margins, is going to be the difference between having a majority or not,” he said.