Republican Rep. Chip Roy of Texas said Thursday he is running to challenge GOP Rep. Elise Stefanik of New York in her bid to become the next Republican conference chair.
“I’m running,” Roy told CNN on his way to a closed-door forum on Capitol Hill, where Republican House members were scheduled to hear from Stefanik on Thursday evening. Republican sources say the election will begin at 8:30 a.m. ET Friday for House Republicans to select their new No. 3, where Stefanik is widely expected to prevail.
Roy, whose bid would be considered a long shot given the support Stefanik has amassed, sees it as an opportunity to not only hear from Stefanik, but also voice his concerns about the process.
Stefanik is currently running unopposed to replace Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, who was ousted by House Republicans from the position on Wednesday following her prolonged and public feud with former President Donald Trump, though some lawmakers have criticized Stefanik’s relatively moderate voting record and the speed at which she appears on track to take the position. Stefanik has been endorsed for the position by Trump and members of House GOP leadership.
Trump reiterated his support for Stefanik after Roy made public that he would get in the race.
“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,” Trump said in a statement, adding, “I support Elise, by far, over Chip!”
Roy, a member of the far-right and Trump-aligned House Freedom Caucus, sent a letter to colleagues earlier this week casting doubt on Stefanik’s qualifications.
“I do believe that she should have an opponent,” Roy said Thursday. “And I’m going to go to the candidate forum tonight and talk to my colleagues. But I’ll let that kind of play out this evening.”
Roy said that while he has respect for Stefanik his concern is the pace at which the vote to fill the post is happening.
“One of my biggest problems is that we’re not taking the time to have this conversation,” Roy said.
He argued that he thought it was “purposeful” to try to “jam” the vote through.
Members of the Freedom Caucus have asked Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy to delay the vote beyond Friday.
CNN’s Manu Raju contributed to this report.