Zeldin Says Republicans ‘Did Not Earn’ Midterm Red Wave 

Former Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY) said that the GOP “did not earn a red wave nationally” during the 2022 midterms and urged Republicans to campaign in areas that typically vote for Democrats. 

“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.”


He added that Republican candidates must improve their message with minorities by offering proposals that tackle issues like public safety and education. 

“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. Instead, what we need to do is to show up over and over and over again,” he said.


According to CNN, Democrats’ support among Latino men was 63% in 2018, decreasing to 55% in 2022. 

In November 2022, Politico reported that Hispanic and Asian support for the Republican Party increased by 10-17 points, while Black voters shifted approximately 4 points to the GOP. 

Since 1984, a Republican presidential candidate has not won California or New York; former President Ronald Reagan carried both states, defeating former Vice President Walter Mondale. 

In 2022, Zeldin ran against New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D-NY) in the state’s gubernatorial election, losing by single digits. However, the GOP made crucial gains in New York, winning several congressional races in Democratic districts. The gubernatorial race was the closest in 20 years. 

Republicans flipped four congressional seats in the 2022 midterms, including that of Sean Patrick Maloney, the chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Zeldin’s candidacy has received credit for the GOP’s wins in New York. 

In 2022, California’s 13th Congressional District elected businessman John Duarte, who defeated state Assemblyman Adam Gray. Duarte’s victory marked the first time since 1974 that the district elected a Republican.  

Republicans currently control the House 222-212. The GOP’s slim majority could be due to its victories in New York and California. For the party to succeed, it must prioritize campaigning in reliably Democratic areas.

Zeldin has expressed interest in running against Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), whose seat is up in 2024.

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