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Stalwart Conservative Challenges Elise Stefanik for Liz Cheney's Old Gig

AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana

On Thursday, a stalwart conservative threw his hat in the ring against Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.), the presumed favorite for GOP Conference Chair, the number three spot in House Republican leadership. The position opened up after Republicans ousted Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), who appears more focused on criticizing former President Donald Trump for the 2020 election than on fighting President Joe Biden’s disastrous agenda.

When Cheney lost the job (but not her seat in Congress), Stefanik was the presumptive replacement. Yet on Thursday, Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas) threw his hat in the ring, Politico reported.

While Trump has thrown his support behind Stefanik, she was a moderate before she joined the Trump Train. In fact, Cheney was more loyal to Trump while he served in the Oval Office: while Cheney voted 92.9 percent of the time with Trump, Stefanik only voted 77.7 percent of the time with Trump.

Roy, a former chief of staff to Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and a member of the House Freedom Caucus, has a stronger conservative record than Stefanik. He has criticized Stefanik’s moderate record.

Trump jumped into the fray shortly after Roy stepped forward.

“Can’t imagine Republican House Members would go with Chip Roy—he has not done a great job, and will probably be successfully primaried in his own district,” the former president said in a statement. “I support Elise, by far, over Chip!”

Roy has served in Congress since 2019. He faced a stiff GOP primary in 2018 and won the nomination in a run-off that year, taking 52.6 percent of the vote. He won with a majority both in 2018 and in 2020, when Wendy Davis challenged him for reelection. Contrary to Trump’s statement, there is no evidence that Roy faces a stiff primary challenge for 2022.

When reporters asked Roy whether he is concerned about Trump’s attack, he turned on the reporters, calling them “vultures.”

“This is all D.C. swamp business,” he said.

After Roy put himself forward in the Thursday meeting, Stefanik described the gathering as a “great discussion.”

“We are in a strong position,” she said. She touted her fundraising prowess and her efforts to help elect Republican women to Congress.

The Republican caucus is expected to vote for a GOP Conference Chair on Friday morning. While Roy may be the more conservative choice, Stefanik is likely to prevail.