It's no secret that, apart from Lee Zeldin and Elise Stefanik's work in New York and Ron DeSantis' work in Florida, the Republicans' national political machinery failed to deliver the midterm red wave many predicted. And now, it's not just GOP voters who want answers, but also Republican National Committee members.
The "review" of the midterms, as Politico called the autopsy report, comes at the same time RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel announced the formation of a "new Republican advisory council" including Kellyanne Conway, Virginia AG Jason Miyares, Senator-elect Katie Britt, Blake Masters, and a handful of other 2022 candidates and elected Republicans.
Separately from McDaniel's group that the RNC chair said would "advise on continuing the success we saw in 2022" — a rather generous glossing over of what clearly went wrong in 2022 to see Democrats pick up the U.S. Senate seat in Pennsylvania and retain control of seats in Arizona, Nevada, and New Hampshire — the "review" will focus more on what went wrong and why the red wave didn't materialize on a national level.
The review group's autopsy report is, also according to Politico, expected to start following next week's U.S. Senate runoff election in Georgia, and is said to be led by Henry Barbour — Haley Barbour's nephew — and RNC Committeewoman from California Harmeet Dhillon — who headed up Kari Lake's election day legal efforts. Notably, Henry Barbour was a co-chair of the RNC's 2012 autopsy report ordered by then-Chair Reince Priebus.
McDaniel, who's seeking another term as chair of the RNC, faces opposition from Lee Zeldin and Minnesota pillow magnate Mike Lindell. Zeldin, for his part, has already shared some of his thoughts on what the RNC did wrong in 2022 and contrasted their strategy that failed to create a red wave with his own strategy that saw New York become a success story for the GOP despite its long stint as a deep blue state.
In addition to timing, a wave depends on how hard you campaign, how effectively you communicate, how well you fundraise, how efficiently you spend, how hard you lean into voting laws, how detailed you plan and execute, how much you collaborate, and how unified you are as a team.— Lee Zeldin (@leezeldin) November 29, 2022
Republicans need to campaign much harder in the cities. It doesn’t matter how deeply blue the city is or how convinced people are you will get creamed there. Show up early and often, hit the issues hard, and generate the coverage that also reaches the neighboring suburbs as well.— Lee Zeldin (@leezeldin) November 30, 2022
Among other keys to his success in New York, Zeldin emphasized the need for Republicans to continue fighting to prevent ballot harvesting provisions from spreading, but taking advantage of such laws where they've already been passed to beat Democrats at their own game:
Wherever they propose ballot harvesting, totally oppose it.— Lee Zeldin (@leezeldin) December 1, 2022
Wherever they pass ballot harvesting, do it so much better than them that they deeply regret ever passing it in the first place.
The RNC's review of 2022 is expected out sometime in the first two quarters of 2023, but the RNC leadership election will take place at the Republican National Committee's winter meeting before the full autopsy is released.