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House Minority Whip Scalise now publicly backs Stefanik to take Cheney's leadership post

"House Republicans need to be solely focused on taking back the House in 2022," a Scalise spokesperson said.

Updated: May 5, 2021 - 11:15am

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House Minority Whip Steve Scalise is publicly backing GOP Rep. Elise Stefanik for the GOP leadership post now held by embattled fellow Republican Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney.

"House Republicans need to be solely focused on taking back the House in 2022 and fighting against Speaker Pelosi and President Biden's radical socialist agenda, and Elise Stefanik is strongly committed to doing that, which is why Whip Scalise has pledged to support her for Conference Chair," Scalise spokesperson Lauren Fin said in a statement first reported by Punchbowl News.

Stefanik’s name as a possible replacement for Cheney began circulating Tuesday afternoon – as the House Republican Conference becomes increasingly concerned about Cheney’s public opposition to former President Trump becoming more of a distraction, jeopardizing their opportunity to win control of the chamber next year.

Cheney is the GOP House conference chairwoman, the No. 3 post in the House Republican Conference.

Cheney was among 10 congressional Republicans to vote in favor of impeaching Trump after the Jan. 6 Capitol riot. Cheney easily survived a subsequent conference vote to remove her from the post.

But her public opposition to Trump, largely over the issue of 2020 election fraud, is expected to bring about another vote, which she’s expected to lose, when House members return next week to Capitol Hill.

Punchbowl also reports House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who until recently was supportive of Cheney, is also backing Stefanik and has helped clear the field of possible contenders.