“Lee ended up getting a lot of calls across the country from a lot of Republican leaders and actually a lot of Republicans on the ground saying New York seemed like the exception this year when it came to efficiency,” he said. said Brabender, reiterating comments he made on Sunday at NBC News.
Other Republicans in New York have touted Zeldin’s ability fall within 6 percentage points of Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul in a state with twice as many Democrats as Republicans. And his aggressive campaign seemed to have ponytails: Republicans knocked down two seats on his home island of Long Island, defeated the chairman of the Democratic Congressional campaign committee Sean Patrick Maloney in the Hudson Valley, secured an open seat with Marc Molinaro upstate, and are leading in another open seat in Syracuse.
Republican success in New York bucked the national trend as a predicted red wave failed to materialize. GOP victories in New York are expected to prove critical if, as expected, Republicans win a narrow House majority.
“The most important thing in all of this is how to win federal races in blue states. New York is so blue it’s almost indigo, and yet he managed to change the face of the United States House of Representatives by force of will,” said Mike Caputo, a Republican strategist in New York. who helped lead Carl Paladino’s bid for governor in 2010. , On Monday.
Republicans around the country took notice of Zeldin’s strong run.
“Even in places where we’ve been a bit short, like Lee Zeldin’s run for governor in New York, compared to Republicans in recent elections, he’s performed very well and he probably helped save the House of Representatives,” the senator said. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) said Sunday on “Face the Nation” on CBS.
Zeldin’s office said it was discussing its next steps.
“Congressman Zeldin is always ready to serve,” his office said in a statement. “People come to us with their thoughts and ideas about what they think he should do next. Ideas are going all over the place, inside and outside of government. The Congressman Zeldin listens to everyone.
He will still serve in the House until the end of the year, but will need to pivot quickly for support if he is to run for RNC president.
Zeldin, 42, has several other options. The state party will seek a new president in January when Nick Langworthy, who won a House seat in Western New York, steps down to serve in Congress.
Zeldin is also considered a potential candidate for Suffolk County Executive in his home county when the seat is on the ballot next year.
Caputo, a close ally of former President Donald Trump, said Zeldin had achieved a rare feat in these divisive times in politics, including among Republicans: he kept his relationships intact. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis campaigned for him, and he remained in the good graces of Trump, whom Zeldin had long supported and did not avoid during the campaign.
It could serve Zeldin well if he runs for president of the RNC, Caputo said.
“After running for governor in a blue state and exceeding average expectations, he still remains an ally of the president,” Caputo said. “He didn’t just thread a needle, he threaded a dozen needles. And to be the national president of the Republican Party, you have to be in the needle-threading business.