Rep. Elise Stefanik could be one-term GOP conference chair if she beats Liz Cheney
'Special Report' panel discuss Cheney's precarious role as GOP Conference chair
Rep. Elise Stefanik is telling Republicans on the fence that she intends to serve just one term as GOP conference chair in an effort to lock in support for the House leadership position, Fox News has confirmed.
The New York Republican is poised to replace Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., as soon as next week at the No. 3 GOP leader in the House.
In her conversations with colleagues in advance of the expected vote, Stefanik has said she intends to serve in leadership through the 2022 election, two sources familiar told Fox News. Then she intends to seek the top GOP spot on the House Education and Labor Committee, where she currently is a member.
Stefanik's pledge was first reported by Politico as a way to assuage some of the most conservative House members about her moderate voting record and to alleviate concerns about being boxed in by House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., who is encouraging members to back Stefanik.
She is also expected to speak to the Freedom Caucus Monday to build up bridges with the most conservative flank of the House, Fox News has confirmed.
Stefanik represents a more moderate New York district north of Albany and has a far less conservative voting record than Cheney, who represents deep-red Wyoming. The conservative group Heritage Action gave Cheney a 91% score compared to just 56% for Stefanik during the most recent Congress.
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 9: Rep. Elise Stefanik (D-NY) questions Secretary of Defense Mark Esper during a House Armed Services Committee hearing on July 9, 2020 in Washington, DC. Stefanik is running for GOP conference chair to replace Rep. Liz Cheney. (Photo by Greg Nash-Pool/Getty Images)
But Cheney has run afoul of her colleagues for voting in favor of former President Donald Trump's impeachment for inciting the Capitol riot, repeatedly continuing to call out his false claims that the presidential election was stolen and saying she wouldn't support Trump in 2024.
"The 2020 presidential election was not stolen," Cheney tweeted on Monday. "Anyone who claims it was is spreading THE BIG LIE, turning their back on the rule of law, and poisoning our democratic system."
McCarthy has tried to remain cozy to Trump since his election loss believing his support is necessary for Republicans to win back Congress in 2022 and many members of the House are still very much wedded to the former president.
Stefanik, 36, has the endorsement of Trump. She was first elected to the House in 2014 and was the youngest woman ever elected to Congress at the time, then 30. Her record was broken in 2019 when a 29-year-old Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., entered Congress.
Since then, Stefanik rose through the ranks on the House Armed Services Committee, the House Education and Labor Committee and the House Intelligence Committee, where she was a staunch defender of Trump during his first impeachment regarding foreign interference in the 2020 presidential election.
Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., the House Republican Conference chair, speaks with reporters following a GOP strategy session on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, April 20, 2021. Cheney's tenure as the No. 3 in the House is expected to expire as soon as May 12, 2021. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Unlike Cheney, Stefanik has not advocated a break from Trump.
"My vision is to run with support from the president and his coalition of voters," Stefanik told Steven Bannon's "War Room Pandemic" podcast Thursday. "I'm committed to being a voice and sending a clear message that we are one team."
Cheney survived a challenge to her leadership back in February, but she's widely expected to lose when Republicans take a second vote likely on Wednesday.
Fox News' Tyler Olson contributed to this report.