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House GOP elects Stefanik as conference chairwoman

'It's a very united conference,' says Rep. Issa, who voted for Stefanik

Published: May 14, 2021 9:09am

Updated: May 14, 2021 12:43pm

House Republicans elected New York Republican Rep. Elise Stefanik as GOP conference chair on Friday.

California Rep. Darrell Issa, who voted for Stefanik, told reporters as he left the GOP meeting that "it's a very united conference."

In a statement released after the meeting, Stefanik said House Republicans are "united in our focus to fight on behalf of the American people to save our country from the radical socialist Democrat agenda of President Biden and Nancy Pelosi." 

Wyoming Republican Rep. Liz Cheney was removed as the conference chair via a voice vote at a GOP conference meeting this week. 

Texas Republican Rep. Chip Roy said on Thursday that he would mount a challenge to Stefanik during the GOP conference meeting.

Both former President Trump and House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy had endorsed Stefanik for the position ahead of Friday's vote. Trump released a statement critical of Roy on Thursday. 

Stefanik said her "focus is on unity" and thanked Trump as well as the voters of her district in a speech after the vote.

"He is a critical part of our Republican team," Stefanik said.

Republican lawmakers had said Cheney was a distraction as conference chair and wanted to focus on countering  the Democrats' policies as well as the midterm elections.

House Democrats under House Speaker Nancy Pelosi have been "ruthless in advancing their radical progressive agenda, and Rep. Cheney can no longer unify the House Republican conference in opposition to that agenda," Republican Wisconsin Rep. Mike Gallagher said in a statement. "We need to take back the House in 2022 and permanently retire Pelosi."

Maryland Rep. Andy Harris said that Cheney "repeatedly found herself in the minority of her conference on key issues and served as a distraction, rather than a unifying figure in our leadership."

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