Lee Zeldin is stepping back from running to chair the Republican National Committee.
Zeldin said in a statement that he is falling short of a needed majority to defeat current chair, Ronna McDaniel.
McDaniel has been serving as the RNC Chair since 2017.
Zeldin, who is a Long Island congressman and was the 2022 Republican nominee for New York governor, urged party officials to select a new leader after a disappointing midterm result for Republicans in Congress.
Zeldin lost the race for governor this year against incumbent Democrat Kathy Hochul. But the race was the closest gubernatorial contest in decades in Democratic-heavy New York.
23rd Congressional District Representative Joe Sempolinski said he was disappointed that Zeldin withdrew from running for the seat, “I think the world of Mr. Zeldin. I think he would have been an excellent RNC chairman. Basically, we could have done better in the midterms. We could have done better in other elections that have occurred. And so, I think having somebody put their name forward, saying, ‘Hey, maybe we should go in a different direction. Maybe we should have a different choice. Maybe we should present options to the RNC committee members,’ would have been wonderful. I certainly think this is not the last we have heard from Lee Zeldin.”
Zeldin was held up as a model by some in the party as an example of how the GOP can compete in suburban areas of the country.
He was also credited with having unusually strong coattails that enabled down-ballot Republican victories in Congress.