After lackluster midterms for GOP, supporters urge Lee Zeldin to run for Republican National Committee chair

Republican Rep. Lee Zeldin of New York, who came very close to defeating Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul in last week’s election, has been taking calls from GOP officials and party activists who want him to run for Republican National Committee (RNC) chair, his media consultant tells Fox News.

“He’s talked to people. He’s contemplating. He’s in a fact-finding position right now more than anything,” veteran Republican media consultant and strategist Jon Brabender said.

Zeldin, who emphasized the issue of crime in his campaign, lost to Hochul last week by six-points in the New York showdown. It was the best showing by a Republican gubernatorial candiate in the heavily blue state in 20 years, since GOP Gov. George Pataki won re-election.

Brabender said that after stories were written last week noting that Zeldin’s performance may have boosted Republicans to key victories in U.S. House races in New York State, flipping blue seats red -which will end up being a key factor if the GOP wins the House majority – his name started getting tossed around regarding the RNC chair, and he started receiving calls.

ELECTION’S OVER, BUT ZELDIN EMPHASIZES CRIME ISN’T GOING AWAY

“He’s talked to people. He’s contemplating. He’s in a fact-finding position right now more than anything,” Brabender told Fox News.

ZELDIN PROUD OF ‘ONCE IN A GENERATION’ CAMPAIGN

Zeldin, an attorney and officer in the U.S. Army Reserve, was first elected to the House in 2014, representing a congressional district in Suffolk County covering the eastern end of New York’s Long Island. Zeldin was a strong supporter of former President Trump during Trump’s tenure in the White House.

Republican gubernatorial candidate Lee Zeldin addresses supporters at his Election Night party, just after midnight on Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2022, in New York.
(AP Photo/Jason DeCrow)

The current RNC Chair – former Michigan GOP chair Ronna McDaniel – is nearing the end of her third two-year term steering the national party committee and has yet to say if she will seek a fourth term.

RNC co-chair Tommy Hicks on Tuesday said he would not seek a third-straight two-year term as co-chair.

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“It is now time for me to focus on my family, especially as my young girls enter their important formative years.”

The full RNC membership of 168 committee members will vote on the next chair when the national party organization holds its winter meeting in January. Under party rules, the two top posts must be held by one man and one woman.