Rep. Elise Stefanik, the favorite to replace Rep. Liz Cheney as the House GOP conference chair, voted with former President Donald Trump less than Cheney and has lower voting scores from top conservative organizations.
According to a tool on the FiveThirtyEight website on “Tracking Congress In The Age Of Trump,” Cheney, R-Wyo., voted with Trump 92.9% of the time compared to 77.7% for Stefanik, R-N.Y.
The conservative group Heritage Action, meanwhile, gave Cheney a 91% score compared to just 56% for Stefanik during the most recent Congress. And the American Conservative Union, which hosted the extraordinarily pro-Trump Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) earlier this year, gives Cheney a 78% rating compared to just 44% for Stefanik.
Stefanik, notably, lives in a more moderate district in New York than Cheney, who represents bright-red Wyoming. But Stefanik has still won by more than double-digits every election since 2014, when she first went to Congress.
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. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
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Cheney, who has publicly feuded with Trump over the former president’s false claims that the 2020 presidential election was stolen, faced a vote earlier this year to remove her from her post as the third-ranking Republican in the House.
She easily defeated that effort, but has continued to battle the former president’s false claims even as other members of House GOP leadership, most notably Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., have aimed to mend fences and ignore the issue.
Momentum continued to build against Cheney as the divide between her and other Republicans became more stark at a House GOP policy retreat last week. And it reached a boiling point earlier this week when Trump called the 2020 election “Fraudulent” in a statement, prompting Cheney to hit back in a tweet.
“The 2020 presidential election was not stolen,” she said. “Anyone who claims it was is spreading THE BIG LIE, turning their back on the rule of law, and poisoning our democratic system.”
After that, more Republicans began to publicly call for Cheney’s ouster and Stefanik eventually began making calls to build support for a potential challenge to Cheney.
“Liz will have more to say in the coming days. This moment is about much more than a House leadership fight,” Cheney spokesperson Jeremy Adler told Fox News Wedneday.
In this image from video, Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., speaks as the House reconvenes to debate the objection to confirm the Electoral College vote from Arizona, after protesters stormed into the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021. (House Television via AP)
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Stefanik is highly popular in the Republican conference, as she has a history of helping raise money for other incumbents. She notably also helped a number of House freshman Republican women in the 2020 elections.
Stefanik gained notoriety in the past few years as a fierce defender of Trump during the House impeachment hearings in the fall of 2019. She was eventually named the honorary New York chair of Trump’s reelection campaign in early 2020, despite her voting record that didn’t always align with the former president.
But she’s stood strongly with Trump in recent months, as the president repeated false claims that he won the presidential election
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