House Republicans elected Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) as conference chair on Friday morning after Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) was ousted earlier this week from the third-ranking role.
Stefanik won in a 134-46 secret-ballot vote, defeating her only challenger, Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX) of the far-right House Freedom Caucus, who challenged Cheney’s hasty replacement.
“I believe that voters determine the leader of the Republican Party and President Trump is the leader they look to,” Stefanik said during a press conference after the vote on Friday. “I support President Trump. Voters support President Trump. He is an important voice in our Republican party and we look forward to working with him.”
Q: "Is President Trump the leader of the Republican Party?"
Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY): "I believe that voters determine the leader of the Republican Party and President Trump is the leader that they look to. I support President Trump." pic.twitter.com/gQLsWAzeVp
— CSPAN (@cspan) May 14, 2021
The New York Republican was boosted early for the spot by the rest of House GOP leadership, winning an endorsement from House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) even before Cheney was booted from her post on Wednesday.
“I want to congratulate Elise Stefanik and welcome her to the leadership team,” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) said during the new team’s first press conference. He said that Republicans had “a healthy debate and a good election.”
Cheney’s removal followed her refusal to promote or play along with former President Donald Trump’s stolen election lie.
Stefanik was well-positioned as a foil to Cheney’s truth-telling approach to the No. 3 role. She had proven her loyalty to Trump by objecting to the final certification of Biden’s electoral victory in key states on Jan. 6, and standing by false claims about fraudulent votes in Georgia while offering support for a sketchy election “audit” in Arizona during a podcast interview with Trump’s former chief strategist Steve Bannon last week.
In a statement after the vote, Stefanik that she was “honored and humbled” to be elected to Republican leadership.
“House Republicans are united in our focus to fight on behalf of the American people to save our country from the radical Socialist Democrat agenda,” she said.