Congressman Chip Roy is slated to challenge Rep. Elise Stefanik in the race to replace Rep. Liz Cheney, who was ousted from her role on Wednesday, as House Republican Conference chair, the No. 3. GOP leadership position in the lower chamber.
Rep. Ken Buck (R-Colo.) confirmed to The Post that he is set to nominate Roy, of Texas, a member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, as a candidate for the role, which entails helping lead House Republicans’ messaging efforts.
New York’s Stefanik has largely been seen as the heir apparent to the position, having locked up key endorsements from former President Donald Trump, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.). She began whipping votes ahead of Cheney being removed from her role.
But some conservatives have voiced reservations about the congressional record of Stefanik — the former chair of the centrist Tuesday Group whose profile saw a sharp rise as one of Trump’s most vocal defenders during the first impeachment trial — arguing that it is too moderate to qualify her to speak for the conference.
Outside conservative advocacy groups have also campaigned against Stefanik, with two senior GOP sources confirming that officials have spoken with Trump in recent days in an attempt to sway him toward pushing for another option.
Roy sent a letter to his House GOP colleagues railing against Stefanik’s record on Tuesday, arguing there should be more competition in the race.
“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,” he wrote.
The announcement of Roy’s candidacy comes just one day after House Republicans voted by voice vote to oust Cheney, arguing her criticisms of Trump and split with McCarthy on Trump-related issues hindered her ability to message on behalf of the conference. Cheney has stood by her position despite being removed, arguing Americans deserve to know the truth about the election.
While Roy has entered the race, Stefanik is still seen as the frontrunner, needing just a simple majority to obtain the role.
It’s unclear whether any other unexpected candidates will emerge in the race.
The New York Republican has been meeting with numerous groups including the Tuesday Group, Republican Study Committee and the House Freedom Caucus in recent days in an attempt to ease concerns and lock down votes.
NY Rep. Elise Stefanik makes her pitch to conservatives ahead of leadership vote
House Republicans are slated to hold their candidate forum on Thursday evening and the official vote to fill the position on Friday morning.
Trump took aim at Roy Thursday, hinting he would support a primary challenger to the Texas Republican’s re-election, shortly after it was confirmed he would run against Stefanik.
“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!” Trump said in a statement.