Texas Rep. Chip Roy is jumping into the race for House GOP conference chair, teeing up a two-way showdown between him and New York Rep. Elise Stefanik.
Roy, a member of the ultra-conservative House Freedom Caucus, has criticized not only Stefanik’s voting record but also how speedy House Republicans are moving to replace the newly deposed Rep. Liz Cheney. Multiple Republicans have complained that they feel boxed in by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who they say put his finger on the scale for Stefanik.
After Cheney (R-Wyo.) was ousted on Wednesday, McCarthy scheduled a forum where candidates for her replacement could speak on Thursday evening and set the election for Friday morning.
“I do believe [Stefanik] should have an opponent,” Roy told reporters. “One of my biggest problems is that we’re not taking the time to have this conversation that we ought to have.”
“This is [purposefully] trying to jam stuff through, so this is one of the points I want to make tonight” at the candidate forum, he added.
Roy, who has been pushing for a delay in the leadership election, hinted that he might not have launched his long-shot, 11th-hour bid if leaders had hit the pause button on the process.
“If there’s some movement on some of that, maybe I wouldn’t be nominated tomorrow,” Roy said.
But so far, there are zero signs that McCarthy plans to delay the election. And there have been rumblings on the far-right about trying to force some procedural motions during Friday’s conference meeting as a form of protest.
Stefanik, the moderate New York Republican turned pro-Trump ally, is considered the front-runner in the race and has been working swiftly to build a wide coalition of support from across the conference. She also has the backing of former President Donald Trump and top GOP leaders and is considered a prolific fundraiser.
Trump said he didn’t think House Republicans would go with Roy in a statement Thursday. Roy voted to certify the election on Jan. 6.
"He has not done a great job, and will probably be successfully primaried in his own district," Trump said. "I support Elise, by far, over Chip!"
Roy, a former chief of staff to Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) who has a reputation as a procedural trouble-maker, will likely pitch himself as conservative alternative to Stefanik. Fellow Freedom Caucus member Rep. Ken Buck (R-Colo.) is planning to formally nominate him, sources said.