Zeldin says Republicans ‘did not earn a red wave nationally’ in the November midterms

Former New York gubernatorial candidate and former Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-N.Y) said on Saturday that Republicans “did not earn a red wave nationally” during the November midterms and urged the GOP to campaign more in areas with more Democratic turnout.

“When you’re high paid political consultant tells you not to go to a heavily Democratic area, that’s exactly where we need to show up and earn the support of these Democrats,” Zeldin said during the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). “We cannot relinquish the cities, we cannot relinquish the suburbs.”

“We cannot relinquish anything to the Democrats and if we’re on offense confidently, that will be the path for us to earn a red wave. Because in 2022, we did not earn a red wave nationally,” he continued. “In ‘24, we must [earn a red wave] to save America.”

Zeldin told attendees at CPAC that candidates need to engage with voters of color by offering proposals to tackle issues like public safety and education in order to earn their votes.

“These Democrats are unhappy with the Democratic policies and the Democratic Party as a whole, but they aren’t going to just swing to the Republicans on their own. It’s a bad assumption that we are making,” he said. “Instead, what we need to do is to show up over and over and over again.”

Zeldins’s comments come months after the November midterms where he lost by single digits to Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) — a closer-than-expected race in the reliably blue state of New York. But the former congressman’s candidacy has been credited for helping Republicans notch key wins in the House, including flipping several blue Long Island seats to red.

Since the election, Zeldin has been floated as a possible Senate challenger to Sen. Kirstin Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), whose seat is up in 2024.

The New York Republican, however, declined to make any announcements about a possible Senate bid during CPAC.

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