House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) is slowly chipping away at the resistance to Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) becoming the House Republican Conference chair, seemingly pushing her closer to becoming the next House speaker.
McCarthy dispatched a team of top lieutenants to spend the weekend in calls and Zoom meetings hoping to persuade critics of Stefanik — a staunch Trump loyalist — to back her bid to replace critical Republicans Rep. Liz Cheney (Wyo.) as the No. 3 House Republican.
The weekend talks were part of a last-ditch attempt to head off a coup attempt by Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas), who has mounted his own last-ditch bid to challenge Stefanik for the post, if rank-and-file House GOP members vote down her candidacy Tuesday.
The decision to bet heavily on Stefanik appears to be paying off. More House Republicans announced their support for Stefanik over the weekend, including Reps. Lee Zeldin (N.Y.), Ralph Norman (S.C.), Don Bacon (Neb.), and Rob Woodall (Ga.).
The endorsements come as House Republicans look to move the party beyond Cheney, who has been fiercely critical of former President Donald Trump. If Stefanik is elected, one of McCarthy’s top goals will be reconciling rank-and-file House Republicans who are still angered by Cheney and her legislative stances.