Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) looks primed to replace Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) as the GOP conference chair despite having much lower ratings from conservative groups than her colleague.
The American Conservative Union, for instance, has given Cheney a lifetime grade of 78 percent, while Stefanik's sits at just 44 percent, based on how often their votes align with the group's positions. The figures from the conservative Heritage Action group are similar at 80 and 48 percent, respectively. But Stefanik has something Cheney doesn't have: the support of former President Donald Trump.
Punchbowl News and other outlets are reporting that Trump will back Stefanik's push to take over the No. 3 House Republican role, suggesting that her willingness to embrace and defend Trump in the past — despite her more moderate voting record — has paid off.
Some political analysts argue that Stefanik's rise proves the movement to oust Cheney isn't really about party unity, as House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) claims, and is instead about appeasing Trump, whom Cheney has not backed down from denouncing over the past few months. Trump himself boosted that theory in a statement Wednesday that criticized not only Cheney, but also former Vice President Mike Pence and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). Tim O'Donnell