MEP Elise Stefanik makes a pitch before the Conservatives before the vote on the leadership
Rep. Elise Stefanik (RN.Y.) has teamed up with members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus to explain her case, why she believes she will succeed Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) As chairwoman of the House Republican Conference is too moderate to be successful in the leadership role.
Stefanik’s urge for support from the conference’s far-right faction came on the same day that Cheney – one of Trump’s most vocal critics who previously served as No. 3 Republican in the House – was ousted from her leadership position.
While conservatives are skeptical of the New York Republican, Stefanik tried to allay her concerns and promised to deliver a unified message if she succeeds in getting elected for the role.
“My message was that I am focused on uniting the conference and beating the Democrats and we have the opportunity to do this, which is historic as we have seen President Biden and Spokesman Pelosi’s most radical socialist agenda” she told reporters who had left the meeting. She didn’t want to answer when asked if she had her support.
Shortly after the siege of Cheney, Stefanik began locking in support to move up the ranks, locking out key endorsements from Trump, the House minority leader, Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) – one of their strongest allies in the House – and the House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.).
But Conservatives have voiced reservations about the New York Republican who previously chaired the Tuesday Moderate Group before seeing a rapid rise in profile during the initial impeachment trial while serving as one of the most vocal defenders for former President Trump to clarify that they are looking for a challenger in the race, with Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas) not ruling out an offer that targets their centrist voices in the past.
“With all due respect to my friend Elise Stefanik, let’s ponder the message the Republican leadership will send by hurrying a spokesman whose voting results embody much of what led to the Democrats kicked the ass in 2018,” said he wrote.
Conservative lawmakers and outside stakeholders, including Club for Growth, have campaigned against Stefanik for the leadership position. Critics cited that their vote was to the left of Cheney, citing the Heritage Action Group, which gave Stefanik 56 percent on Cheney’s 91 percent. The American Conservative Union scored 78 percent for Cheney versus 44 percent for Stefanik. and FreedomWorks, Stefanik got 37 percent on Cheney’s 56 percent.
Two senior GOP sources said a senior advocacy official who spoke out against Stefanik spoke directly to President Trump about their concerns on Tuesday. But Trump adviser Jason Miller reiterated Trump stands by his approval as the conference prepares to replace Cheney on Friday.
Despite Trump’s approval, some lawmakers said they left the meeting impressed with their pitch but remained unsold.
“I think Elise is a good speaker. I think she knows how to send messages and I thought she did a good job in that regard. Whether it was convincing, I can’t speak for everyone else, but I haven’t made up my mind, “said one conservative member.
“We will say that there might be other people entering this race and depending on the other candidates and how that works, we will just see how the candidates stand,” said Rep. Russ Fulcher (R-Idaho ). told reporters.
“… I think most of the members of the Freedom Caucus are concerned about the voting results.”
Stefanik’s critics said they’d like to see more time between Cheney’s fall and the selection of her successor. A number of lawmakers have voiced complaints about the process, calling for a delay in the vote, which is scheduled for Friday morning.
And several Republicans said they were frustrated with McCarthy, arguing they felt bogged down by his decision to throw his support behind Stefanik so quickly. They told the post office they felt “cooped up”.
“There are a number of Republican Congressmen who believe that Kevin McCarthy first fiddled with Liz Cheney and fumbled again because getting rid of Liz or my choice, Elise, was far too orchestrated,” said a senior Republican.
“He feels like he has an ally in Elise Stefanik, and that’s the main reason for that – there are other top women connected with other leaders.”
Despite some grievances, Stefanik seems to be on the right track to banning more than half of the conference members who have to win the race, despite the talk of a challenger making an offer.
Stefanik said Tuesday she had “broad support” from several factions within the party.