Liz Cheney's Possible Successor Weighs In

Rep. Elise Stefanik stresses her support of Trump amid GOP political drama
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted May 6, 2021 1:02 PM CDT
Liz Cheney's Possible Successor Weighs In
Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y.   (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

(Newser) – GOP Rep. Elise Stefanik has emerged as a leading contender to replace Liz Cheney in the No. 3 spot among House Republicans, and on Thursday she helped strengthen that case on her own behalf during an interview with Steve Bannon. Coverage:

  • The 36-year-old New York congresswoman stressed her support for Donald Trump during the interview, a stark contrast with Cheney's continued criticism of him, notes CNN. Asked about party strategy for the 2022 elections, she said that her "vision is to run with support from the President and his coalition of voters," referring to Trump.
  • "We are going to run as an alternative to the Biden agenda," she added. "This is also about being one team. I'm committed to being a voice and sending a clear message that we are one team, and that means working with the President (again, referring to Trump) and working with all of our excellent Republican members of Congress." (Cheney, on the other hand, says the party is at "turning point" and must reject Trump's claims that Joe Biden stole the election.)

  • Trump himself has endorsed Stefanik as a replacement for Cheney in the leadership post, notes the AP. The House could vote next week on ousting Cheney, a move backed by the top two House Republicans, Kevin McCarthy and Steve Scalise. "The careers of Cheney and Stefanik are seemingly racing in opposite directions, as if to contrast the fates awaiting Trump critics and backers in today's GOP," writes Alan Fram.
  • So who is Stefanik? The Wall Street Journal has a profile, noting that when she won office six years ago, she was one of the youngest women ever elected to Congress. She rose to national attention with her defense of Trump in the first impeachment hearing, specifically because of her sparring with Democrat Adam Schiff. Stefanik also has reportedly been pondering a run for governor in New York, though this new wrinkle of a potential move up the GOP leadership ranks changes things.
  • The Washington Post also has a profile of the Harvard grad, noting that she was a campaign adviser to Paul Ryan before running herself. But Stefanik "no longer wants to be identified with the traditional conservatives who served as her mentors," writes Paul Kane. "Instead, she wants to be placed squarely in Trump’s 'America First' movement." The ideological shift mirrors that of her district in northern New York.
  • The CNN piece says Stefanik was largely viewed as a moderate before her embrace of Trump. That might be why the conservative Club for Growth voiced its disapproval of her to replace Cheney. Stefanik "is NOT a good spokesperson for the House Republican Conference," says the group in a tweet. "She is a liberal with a 35% CFGF lifetime rating, 4th worst in the House GOP. House Republicans should find a conservative to lead messaging and win back the House Majority."
(Read more Elise Stefanik stories.)

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