Zeldin announces he won’t challenge RNC chair, says her reelection is ‘pre-baked by design’

After coming far closer to upsetting Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul in New York than most people thought possible, U.S. Rep. Lee Zeldin, R-N.Y., set his sights on running for Republican National Committee chair, challenging incumbent RNC chair Ronna McDaniel.

On Wednesday, however, Zeldin put that ambition to rest, leaving some to wonder who may have gotten to him.

“RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel should not run for a 4th term,” the GOP lawmaker tweeted. “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 also shared a statement he released, arguing 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.”

McDaniel has been under fire with the GOP seriously underperforming in the midterms, where an expected red wave hit a blue wall and Republicans barely eked out a majority in the House and actually lost a seat in the Senate, making President Biden the first president since FDR to gain a seat in the Senate in his first midterm.

McDaniel, pushed by Donald Trump in 2016, announced last month that she would seek an unprecedented (in modern times) fourth two-year term steering the national party committee, Fox News reported. The RNC, 168 committee members strong, will vote on the next chair at next month’s winter meeting in southern California.

She faces another challenger in Harmeet Dhillon, an RNC member for six years, who announced this week on Fox News’s “Tucker Carlson Tonight” that she would challenge McDaniel:

“Republicans are tired of losing, and I think that we really need to radically reshape our leadership in order to win,” Dhillon said, adding that Republicans “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.”

Here’s a quick sampling of responses to the story, to include plenty of support for Dhillon, as seen on Twitter:

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