Elise Stefanik's Only Challenger Chip Roy: 'Elise Is Our Chair, Now We're Going to Get Busy'

Despite questions over whether New York Representative Elise Stefanik is conservative enough to hold the No. 3 post in the House GOP leadership, her sole challenger in the race says House Republicans need to unite.

"We're all united, and Elise is our chair," Roy, a Texas Republican, told reporters at the Capitol on Friday after the vote. "Now we're going to get busy, pointing out how the Democratic Party is destroying America."

Stefanik replaces Representative Liz Cheney, a Wyoming Republican, who was ousted earlier this week as House Republican Conference chair over her rift with former President Donald Trump, who had repeatedly called for her removal.

Trump, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and House Minority Whip Steve Scalise all endorsed Stefanik to replace Cheney. While some on the far right had questioned whether Stefanik is conservative enough for the role, she faced only nominal opposition in Roy, who called for unity after the vote.

"I think Elise made her point very clear that she's fully in support of the agenda, [and] we're all united," Roy said after Stefanik won the leadership post. "We've got a lot of fodder to message on, and Elise will be we'll be very good at doing that."

In her new role, Stefanik, who has been in the House since 2015, becomes the highest-ranking Republican woman in the chamber.

Cheney was stripped of her position as House Republican Conference chair in an unrecorded voice vote Wednesday amid a feud with Trump. She had voted with Democrats to impeach Trump for inciting the violent January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

A New York native and Harvard grad, Stefanik previously worked in President George W. Bush's administration and has been aligned with former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, U.S. Senator Mitt Romney and former House Speaker Paul Ryan. In 2017, she was elected to co-chair the Tuesday Group, a House caucus of moderate Republicans.

She built a reputation as a moderate who kept Trump at arm's length until his first impeachment, when she went to battle in Trump's defense on the Intelligence Committee and as part of a team of Trump defenders in the media.

"A new Republican Star is born," an impressed Trump tweeted about Stefanik during the impeachment.

As Cheney was being removed as conference chair, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office released a fake "help wanted" ad last Tuesday, implying that House GOP leaders were looking to replace Cheney with "a woman who isn't a 'threat' to them."

Elise Stefanik climbs House GOP ladder
Representative Elise Stefanik questions witnesses during a House Intelligence Committee hearing on November 21, 2019. Andrew Harrer-Pool/Getty Images