Thursday, October 6, 2022

Stefanik Announces Bid for House GOP Chair, Faces Challenger Donalds

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Reps. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) and Byron Donalds (R-Fla.) will compete to be the next House Republican Conference chair after the November elections.

Stefanik, the current conference chair who replaced Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) in the position in May 2021, announced her reelection bid on Sept. 13. Her announcement signals that she will not seek the position of House majority whip, should the Republicans retake the House in November.

“For the next 56 days, I’m laser-focused on working to ensure we earn a historic Republican Majority,” Stefanik wrote in a statement on Twitter. “I am proud to have unified the entire Republican Conference around our country in crisis message and shattered fundraising records as House GOP Conference Chair raising over $10M for candidates and committees this cycle.

“With the broad support of NY21 and my House GOP colleagues, I intend to run for Conference Chair in the next Congress.”

With Republicans optimistic about their chances of taking back the House after the midterm elections, there could be reshuffles in the House Republican hierarchy. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said last month that he believes he will be the next House speaker. Meanwhile, current Minority Whip Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) is likely to move up to majority leader, meaning the position of the majority whip is up for grabs.

In May 2021, Stefanik was elected to the No. 3 post in the House Republican leadership, after Cheney was ousted from the position over her vocal criticism of former President Donald Trump and the party’s messaging.

Donalds, who serves on the House Oversight and Reform Committee, also announced his candidacy for the conference chair on Sept. 13.

“As one of the most prominent voices of the House GOP Agenda, I’m the best candidate to lead an effective communications strategy should Republicans take back the House,” Donalds wrote in a statement. “In the weeks and months ahead, we must focus on sending Speaker [Nancy] Pelosi packing by electing a wave of America First candidates.”

Epoch Times Photo
Rep. Byron Donalds (R-Fla.) questions Office of Management and Budget Director Shalanda Young during a House Committee in Washington on March 29, 2022. (Rod Lamkey – Pool/Getty Images)

Endorsements

Stefanik immediately won several endorsements. Rep. Mike Johnson (R-La.), vice chair of the House Republican Conference, took to Twitter to say he gave his full support to Stefanik’s bid.

“Serving as Vice Chair of @HouseGOP alongside @RepStefanik has been one of the great highlights of my time in Congress,” Johnson wrote. “I look forward to continuing our work to retake the majority by promoting the GOP agenda.”

Rep. Ashley Hinson (R-Iowa), who sits on the House Appropriations Committee, said Stefanik has done well as conference chair.

“I’m proud to be on her team and support her,” Hinson wrote on Twitter. “We will continue to work together to take back the House in November and get our country back on the right track.”

McCarthy and Rep. Tom Emmer (R-Minn.), chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, will also support Stefanik for the position, The Hill reported on Sept. 13, citing the two lawmakers’ spokespeople.

Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.), communications chair of the House Freedom Caucus, offered her support to Donalds by writing, “I’m for it!!” on Twitter, while retweeting Donalds’s statement.

McCarthy didn’t think there would be much of a competition between Stefanik and Donalds.

“I don’t think it’ll be a race,” McCarthy told the Washington Examiner on Sept. 13. “I think Elise has done an excellent job and will continue to be conference chair.”

Frank Fang

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Frank Fang is a Taiwan-based journalist. He covers US, China, and Taiwan news. He holds a master’s degree in materials science from Tsinghua University in Taiwan.

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