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Lee Zeldin to take over role of Republican Jewish leader after losing New York gubernatorial bid

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Republican Jewish Congressman Lee Zeldin, a stronger-than-expected but unsuccessful run for governor of New York, has decided not to run for chairman of the Republican National Committee (RNC). said.

But in a sign that he expects to remain influential even after leaving Congress, Zeldin, the highest-ranking Jewish Republican in the country, was elected to the board of directors of the Republican Jewish Coalition this week. I participated.

That means he will play a key role in galvanizing Jewish political contributions to the Republican Party at a time when the future of the Republican Party is in dispute.

Long Island Republican Zeldin, who is known for usurping four former Democrats in New York, won three elections Wednesday morning for incumbent RNC chairman Ronna McDaniel. issued a fiery statement condemning the “disappointing” performance on year of work.

“The grassroots are frustrated, atrophied and defeated,” he said, referring to a string of defeats since McDaniel took over as party leader on the orders of former President Donald Trump in 2017. just yesterday. ”

Zeldin was referring Tuesday to the loss of Republican Senate candidate Herschel Walker in Georgia. That was it.

The election season has been a huge disappointment for Republicans who expected a “red wave” of victory as President Joe Biden remains unpopular. maintained. Lost the US House of Representatives to the Republicans, but barely. It has retained many governors deemed vulnerable, and has overturned many state legislatures in the process.

Republican candidate for New York Governor Lee Zeldin (second from left) stops by the campaign at the Perizia Pizza restaurant in the Midwood section of Brooklyn, NY, November 8, 2022. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)

Under McDaniel’s watch, Republicans lost the President and Senate in 2020 and the House in 2018.

Zeldin said he did not run for McDaniel’s reelection because it was “burned into it.” She is believed to have the support of at least 100 of her 168 party officials who make up the RNC’s voting members.

Zeldin said he has grassroots support for the party, though it’s not clear how he made that assessment. Republican donors are more likely to donate if they do, says Blackstone Group chairman Stephen Schwartzman and steel tycoon Andrew Sabin, both Jewish. Ronald Lauder, the successor to Cosmetics and chairman of the World Jewish Congress, poured millions of dollars into Zeldin’s bid for governor.

In a statement, Zeldin said there was still time for McDaniel to withdraw from the campaign before elections early next year, and suggested he would consider running if he did.

“A better way forward would be for Chairman McDaniel to listen to and respect the wishes of our party’s actual grassroots voters and to allow the RNC to take on new leadership.” The greatest contribution to the will be to make room for a new chairman.”

Former President Donald Trump (right) greets Congressman Lee Zeldin (middle) and wife Diana Zeldin (left) after arriving at Francis S. Gabreski Airport in Westhampton Beach, New York, on August 9, 2019. increase. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Both McDaniel and Zeldin were seen as close to Trump. Zeldin was on the team that defended the former president in one of his impeachment trials and decided not to authenticate Biden’s election after Trump’s lies about election results spurred a deadly rebellion in the Capitol. voted for

Zeldin kept his distance from Trump during the gubernatorial race and didn’t show up with him in a state where Trump was born very unpopular. Now Republicans are blaming their poor performance on Trump and his allegiance claims to false claims about the 2020 election. Zeldin did not mention Trump in his statement.

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