Stefanik was backed by former President Donald Trump to take up the position, but other members of the party questioned her conservative bonafides.
On Tuesday, Roy reportedly circulated a memo to other Republican House members that was critical of Stefanik.
“[W]ith all due respect to my friend, Elise Stefanik, let us contemplate the message Republican leadership is about to send by rushing to coronate a spokesperson whose voting record embodies much of what led to the 2018 ass-kicking we received by Democrats,” wrote Roy.
The memo referenced a number of Stefanik’s positions that ran contrary to Republican stances, such as her opposition to the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act,” centerpiece legislation of the Trump administration.
“[Roy’s] focus is on serving Texas’ 21st Congressional district, the American people, and the Constitution,” said a spokesperson from Roy’s office when he was rumored to be considering a bid for the leadership role. “But if the position must be filled, then this must be a contested race — not a coronation.”
When the news broke that Roy would be running against Stefanik, Trump immediately released a statement criticizing the Texas congressman.
“Can’t imagine Republican House Members would go with Chip Roy — he has not done a great job, and will probably be successfully primaried in his own district. I support Elise, by far, over Chip!” stated Trump.
Revealing some of the nuanced positions amongst Republicans, Roy — who both voted to certify the electoral college results of the 2020 presidential election and voted against the impeachment of Trump — was backed for the role by the fiscally conservative group Club for Growth — a group that just a few weeks ago held a tele-townhall in a Texas congressional race along with the former president.
Congratulating Stefanik on her Friday victory, Roy noted the same point.
“As I said from the beginning, our goal was to provide an alternative with a proven record of standing up not for politicians — but for freedom, the Constitution, and the conservative principles Americans hold dear,” stated the congressman. “I am glad that we did, because it demonstrates a large block of our colleagues across the ideological spectrum agree.”
In a press conference following the election, House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) showed appreciation for the competition that Roy brought to the race.
“I want to congratulate Elise Stefanik and welcome her to the leadership team. I want to thank Chip Roy as well. We had a healthy debate and a good election,” said McCarthy.
Asked if she agreed with Trump’s suggestion that Roy should be primaried, Stefanik said, “Competition is good in America.”
“We should have a discussion of ideas. I welcome the competition. I am honored for the support,” said Stefanik. “We are focused on putting forth policies and communicating them to the American people to beat Democrats, and we are going to win the majority in 2022 as one team.”
Likewise, Roy pointed to the future of the GOP as a whole in his statement.
“Now that the conference has made its decision, it’s time for us to move forward with a vision and a plan to fight for the forgotten men and women of this country, their way of life, and the principles — built upon the bedrock of freedom — that have made it great,” he said.
“We have no more time for either beltway theatrics, half-hearted empty promises, and tepid appeasement of people who want to remake America in the image of failed social welfare states.”
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Daniel Friend is a reporter for The Texan. He participated in a Great Books program at Azusa Pacific University and graduated in 2019 with a degree in Political Science. He has studied C.S. Lewis’s science fiction trilogy and in his spare time you might find him writing his own novel partly inspired by the series.