“For the past six years, I have stood shoulder to shoulder with the men and women of the Freedom Caucus as we have tirelessly fought to hold the line to promote liberty, safety and prosperity for Americans,” Perry said in a statement Monday evening. “I am grateful to continue to carry the torch for these champions of freedom.”
The hardliner group’s current chairman, Rep. Andy Biggs of Arizona, was term-limited and will serve in the position until January 1, the caucus said.
Perry, who represents Pennsylvania, has come under scrutiny for his role in seeking to overturn the 2020 presidential election, and his interactions related to those efforts could be of keen interest to the House select committee investigating the January 6 Capitol insurrection.
An Army veteran, Perry was interested in leading the Freedom Caucus the last time there was an election, but there were concerns about his district being too competitive, sources said. He ended up being reelected by 7 points last year.
Perry will now take the helm of the Freedom Caucus at a pivotal time: The group has lost its clout in the minority and has faced some schisms in its ranks, but will be looking to wield its potential power if Republicans win back the House majority in the 2022 midterm elections.
As the caucus was gearing up to elect its next chair, Perry was among several names in the mix to succeed Biggs. Rep. Warren Davidson of Ohio, a former military officer and West Point grad, and Rep. Ralph Norman of South Carolina, a businessman and real estate developer, were also known contenders. All three are staunch allies of former President Donald Trump.
When Republicans held the majority, the group had immense power – and made life hell for GOP leadership – by banding together. The Freedom Caucus was formed in 2015 as an ultraconservative alternative to the Republican Study Committee, but later became home to Trump’s most loyal supporters in Congress.
After being relegated to the minority, however, the band of roughly 40 agitators has seen its power dramatically wane in Congress, and has splintered before over how far to push some of its tactics.
This story has been updated with further developments Monday.