Elise Stefanik: ‘Running for Chair Because We Need a Unified GOP Leadership Team’

Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY)speaks during the 6th Annual Women Rule Summit at a hotel in Washington, DC on December 11, 2018. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP) (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)
MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images

Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) said Monday she is running for Republican Conference Chair because the Republican Party must have “a unified voice from our leadership team.”

The Washington Examiner interviewed Stefanik in which she reiterated House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s (R-CA) remarks of needed unification in the leadership.

McCarthy scheduled a Wednesday vote to oust the current House Conference Chair, Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY), over Cheney’s inability to convey a Republican message going into the 2022 midterms.

Stefanik began the interview speaking about her own qualifications for the job:

I’m running for conference chair because I think we need a unified voice from our leadership team, and I have both the experience and excel at driving a message on offense against the Democrats.

You know, there is frustration among all sorts of members of Congress from all corners of the conference, with the divisiveness that’s coming from our leadership team due to some of the decisions made by the current conference chair. And we have a historic opportunity to win in 2022. And I’m focused on unifying and driving that message.

I believe that there was an opportunity after our January vote for us to unify and go on offense against the Democrats. Based upon my conversations with members, they continue to be frustrated. And this includes members that didn’t vote to impeach [and] that did vote to impeach. This is members that voted to certify and didn’t vote to certify.

[They] are very frustrated that rather than prioritizing the message of the conference, there [has been] a prioritization of the individual message of the member who is conference chair and not the overall message of the conference.

Secondly, she spoke about the importance of the GOP leadership listening to the Republican House members:

No. 1, having a unified message at the top, that is the No. 1 priority of the members based upon my conversations. I also think, No. 2, listening to members more effectively. That has been an area of frustration that there hasn’t been enough listening from the current conference chair. And that’s, I believe, one of my strong skill sets. I’ve spent a lot of time during my time in Congress, but especially over the past week or so, it means hundreds of conversations, listening to get a pulse of the conference.

And then, No. 3 is going on offense against the policies, the radical socialist policies, from President Biden and Speaker [Nancy] Pelosi. We need to go on offense. The American people do not support the radical socialist agenda, but we need to make clear that rather than playing defense, we need to be an offensive posture in the media.

And then, I also think we need to do a better job of lifting up our individual members. There’s not enough focus on each individual rank-and-file member. There are so many amazing members and amazing stories, and we’re not effectively telling those to the American people, and that will change.

Stefanik thirdly turned to polices in which Republican voters are concerned:

I disagree that it is binary between looking back and looking forward. I think the president is right to focus on the election integrity and election security issues. If you go to any Republican Lincoln Day dinner, any town meeting across the country, it is one of the top concerns of voters. And it’s very much in line when we talk about going on offense. H.R. 1 is the opposite direction. That’s a federal takeover of election.

Republicans have put forth policies such as voter ID, ensuring that we have chain of custody of absentee ballots, signature verification process, the audit in Arizona. State legislatures like Florida are taking proactive policy action. So, I believe that the discussions of the 2020 election are integral to make sure that we can rebuild the American people’s trust in our elections, moving forward, and put forth those policy solutions to improve election security and election integrity. And I stand with the president’s focus on election integrity. As usual, he’s very in touch with the voters around the country.

Fourthly, the New York Republican shed light on what she perceives to be the GOP’s future priorities:

President Biden is president, and the focus is on defeating his radical agenda, which I believe we will do in 2024. And we’re going to win the midterms in 2022. I have said that there are election irregularities and an unconstitutional overreach, which is why I objected to certain states. You can refer to my statement on the House floor.

I fully stand by that, and voters support the focus on those issues. But the irregularity, the unconstitutional overreach, the lack of ballot security, those are important issues that the American people want to hear solutions from the Republicans on.

When you look at the weakest jobs report in decades. When you look at the border crisis, which it’s not just impacting border states — every state is a border state now because it has an impact on national security, public health, humanitarian. In just over 100 days, voters are seeing how radical and far-left the Biden agenda is.

And I also think Biden, when he ran, focused on this unifying bipartisan message. We have yet to see bipartisan outreach from this administration, any effective outreach. And the legislation that they have passed has been single-party vote, no Republicans. The American people don’t want that.

Stefanik lastly spoke about her ability of replacing Cheney as a top GOP fundraiser:

We’re already one of the strongest fundraisers in the entire House, including leadership. We built that, really paying it forward, with the grassroots email list but also the major donors bundling for many of those GOP women candidates who I endorsed and supported this last cycle.

I believe that a strong fundraising operation includes major donors. It includes Zoom events, in-person events, as well as the small-dollar donors. Both digital mail and just grassroots donors that we cultivated over time. So, that fundraising number is going to increase. It’s one of the strongest in the conference already, and it’s only going to go up.


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