(CNN)House Republicans voted on Friday to elevate Rep. Elise Stefanik to the No. 3 leadership position of conference chair after ousting Rep. Liz Cheney from the role because she repeatedly called out former President Donald Trump’s “Big Lie” that the 2020 election was stolen.
Stefanik, a high-profile Trump defender, faced a conservative challenger — GOP Rep. Chip Roy — but his candidacy was viewed as a long-shot, and the New York congresswoman had the backing of House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy, Minority Whip Steve Scalise and Trump. The final result was 134 votes for Stefanik and 46 for Roy, according to multiple sources in the room.
The congresswoman said in a statement after the vote that she is “honored and humbled” to be elected to the leadership post. “House Republicans are united in our focus to fight on behalf of the American people to save our country from the radical Socialist Democrat agenda,” she said.
Stefanik’s rise within the ranks of House GOP leadership and Cheney’s removal starkly underscores the Republican Party’s entrenched loyalty to the former President and the limited extent to which it is willing to tolerate dissent even after Trump’s election lies incited a deadly attack on the US Capitol on January 6.
Aides close to the race also told CNN that Stefanik’s quick rise was a emblematic of the congresswoman’s own ambitions.
“She just outhustled everyone,” one senior GOP aide told CNN.
Amid Trump’s false claims over voter fraud, Stefanik supported an objection during the Electoral College vote count to affirm President Joe Biden’s win. She also signed on in support of an amicus brief backing a lawsuit from Texas to the Supreme Court that sought to overturn the results of the election in several states.
Trump stood by Stefanik in her run for the leadership post and weighed in on Roy’s late entry into the race Thursday evening with a statement slamming the congressman and reiterating his support for the congresswoman.
“Can’t imagine Republican House Members would go with Chip Roy — he has not done a great job, and will probably be successfully primaried in his own district. I support Elise, by far, over Chip!” he said.
Stefanik has made a pitch to House Republicans that she will help deliver on a message of unity and united opposition to Democrats in Congress and in the White House as the party works to win back the House majority in 2022.
The congresswoman has faced pushback, however, from
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