House Republicans put off a vote on Rep. Elise Stefanik's bid to replace Liz Cheney as the No. 3 GOP leader amid pressure from right-wing lawmakers that she vouch for her conservative credentials.
The move to delay a formal vote on Stefanik comes after Former President Donald Trump – who Cheney accused of provoking a violent attack on the Capitol 'in an effort to steal the election' – gave the New York lawmaker his public endorsement.
The vote to remove Cheney came on a voice vote, after her base of support within the conference plummeted.
Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) will stand for election as chair of the House GOP Conference on Friday. On Wednesday, the conference voted to boot Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming as the No. 3 party leader
But Stefanik, an upstate New York lawmakers who came to Congress with a more centrist background and worked for Mitt Romney's 2012 presidential campaign, has been facing blowback from conservative lawmakers who hold powerful sway in the GOP Conference.
Now, she is scheduled to meet Wednesday night with members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, which will be seeking assurances.
Rep. Ken Buck (R-Colo.), a Trump loyalist, told reporters about the meeting following Cheney's ouster.
The confab comes after conservative GOP Rep. Chip Roy of Texas cast Stefanik's ascension as a risk to the party's mid-term goal of recapturing the House.
'We must avoid putting in charge Republicans who campaign as Republicans but then vote for and advance the Democrats' agenda once sworn in - that is, that we do not make the same mistakes we did in 2017,' he said.
He warned against what he termed a coronation of a 'spokesperson whose voting record embodies much of what led to the 2018 ass-kicking we received by Democrats.'
Stefanik also met with the group Monday. In a sign of the constraints she is facing even with backing from Trump, Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, and Minority Whip Steve Scalise, she agreed to serve a single term.
In a letter to colleagues Wednesday, she stressed her 'ability to listen.' She also sought to unify her party against the 'radical Socialist Democrat agenda of President Biden and Speaker Pelosi.'
'A unified leadership team is the key foundation as we work to regain the Majority,' she wrote, in a letter that also referenced the Chinese Communist Party, 'biased media,' and 'Far-left Socialist dismantling of America.'
Conservative outside group Heritage Action gave her a conservative scorecard of 56 percent – compared to 82 per cent for Cheney, in an indication that Cheney's had little to do with ideology and was instead tied to loyalty to Trump and GOP concerns about mixed messaging.
Last week, Trump endorsed Stefanik, writing: 'Liz Cheney is a warmongering fool who has no business in Republican Party Leadership. We want leaders who believe in the Make America Great Again movement, and prioritize the values of America First. Elise Stefanik is a far superior choice, and she has my COMPLETE and TOTAL endorsement for GOP Conference Chair. Elise is a tough and smart communicator!'