Some House Republicans want Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) to face a challenger as she runs for House Republican Conference chair, the third-highest-ranking Republican position in the lower chamber.
Stefanik is poised to replace Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY), who was removed from the role Wednesday morning — as predicted — following growing calls that she was not fit to lead because of her continuously speaking out about her personal opposition to former President Donald Trump.
The New York Republican has received top endorsements for the role from House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA), and Trump, but while she has seen little outward pushback from her colleagues, there are a few expressing their hesitations or outright objections.
Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO), a House Freedom Caucus member, told Breitbart News after a press conference Wednesday she would like to see possible alternatives to Stefanik.
“I don’t believe that she should run unopposed,” Boebert said. “This is the land of opportunity, and somebody needs to be there to at least have a check and a balance there to see what our options could be.”
During the press conference, where Rep. Dan Bishop (R-NC) was introducing legislation designed to combat critical race theory teachings alongside several of his colleagues, Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX), another Freedom Caucus member, was also asked about Stefanik.
“We’re here to talk about other topics, but I will say this: She should have an opponent,” Roy said.
Roy’s comment comes after he himself decided he would consider running if no one else does, sources reportedly told the Daily Caller. Roy also sent out a memo Tuesday ahead of Wednesday’s Cheney vote in which he cited examples of Stefanik’s voting record and contended Republicans need the role filled by someone who reflects conservative values.
“With all due respect to my friend, Elise Stefanik, let us contemplate the message Republican leadership is about to send by rushing to coronate a spokesperson whose voting record embodies much of what led to the 2018 ass-kicking we received by Democrats,” Roy wrote in the memo, first obtained by Politico. The outlet also reported that Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO) said he would vote against Stefanik.
Freedom Caucus co-chair Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ) issued a statement expressing his desire for more time before voting on a new conference chair. Biggs’s position deviates from that of his fellow co-chair, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), who has said he supports electing Stefanik.
“The GOP Conference needs a cooling-off period in which candidates can make their case, giving us the opportunity to make a thorough, methodical decision and have a united front in filling the role,” Biggs said in a statement.
Another Freedom Caucus member, Rep. Ralph Norman (R-SC), did not expressly endorse Stefanik. A spokesman for Norman said to Breitbart News the South Carolina Republican “has a sincere respect and appreciation for Rep. Stefanik and the work she has done in Congress. With that being said, Congressman Norman would like to see the process of electing a new conference chair play out and the individual best suited for the job elected.”
Boebert, during her interview with Breitbart News, also downplayed the role as far as it mattering to constituents. “Sometimes, I would look to the conference chair position and say, ‘What is it you do again?’ That’s not what the American people are focused on. They’re focused on the people who they elected to lead them, to be their voice. … There are issues that we are taking the lead in that never came from the conference chair position,” she said.
Citing examples during the press conference, Boebert said, “We have chairman Andy Biggs who is leading on the issues when it comes to the border crisis. We have Yvette Herrell and Chip Roy teaming up to solve this crisis at the border. I am proud to partner with Congressman Chip Roy on the energy crisis that we have here in America that’s created by the Biden regime. There are issues that actually affect everyday Americans that they care about so it’s not who’s number three in the conference. It’s who’s leading on the issues.”
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