House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) announced his support for Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) to oust Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) as Republican Conference Chair on Wednesday.
“House Republicans need to be solely focused on taking back the House in 2022 and fighting against Speaker [Nancy] Pelosi and President [Joe] Biden’s radical socialist agenda, and Elise Stefanik is strongly committed to doing that, which is why Whip Scalise has pledged to support her for Conference Chair,” spokesperson Lauren Fine stated to Punchbowl News.
Cheney’s team responded to Scalise’s endorsement of Stefanik Wednesday. “Liz will have more to say in the coming days. This moment is about much more than a House leadership fight,” spokesperson Jeremy Adler said.
Though much Republican dissatisfaction with Cheney stems from continued opposition to former President Donald Trump, Stefanik voted with Trump’s position less often than Cheney. According to Axios, Cheney back Trump’s positions 92.9 percent of the time compared to Stefanik’s 77.7 percent.
However, Stefanik “emerged as an outspoken Trump defender, grilling witnesses sharply and clashing” with Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA). “Trump quickly noticed, tweeting ‘A new Republican Star is born,'” Punchbowl explained.
After Trump’s first impeachment trial, Stefanik spoke at the Republican National Convention in 2020. “President Trump has fought tirelessly to deliver results for all Americans, despite the Democrats’ baseless and illegal impeachment sham and the media’s endless obsession with it,” Stefanik wrote on Facebook.
Fox News noted that “Stefanik has built up goodwill “with Republicans “because she’s raised a lot of money… in the 2020 election cycle when the GOP upset many Democrats throughout the country and picked off 14 blue seats.” Punchbowl reported she raised $11 million during the 2020 cycle.
The House Republican Conference, which Cheney currently chairs, according to GOP.gov, is responsible for “electing the House Republican leadership, approving GOP Member committee assignments, managing leadership-driven floor debates, and executing a communications strategy that is executed within the party and is conveyed to constituents through the media.”
Raising money for the GOP House members is another responsibility of the conference chair. OpenSecrets.org reports Cheney, as the chair, is the second largest fundraiser of PAC money from corporations and trade associations in Congress.
Cheney’s ouster, therefore, may have financial implications for Republican caucus members.