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Elise Stefanik to seek second term as House GOP chair, not whip

Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) announced that she will seek another term as House GOP conference chair on Tuesday, ending months of speculation that she might seek the position of House majority whip if Republicans win control of the chamber.

“For the next 56 days, I’m laser-focused on working to ensure we earn a historic Republican Majority. I am proud to have unified the entire Republican Conference around our country in crisis message and shattered fundraising records as House GOP Conference Chair raising over $10M for candidates and committees this cycle. With the broad support of NY21 and my House GOP colleagues, I intend to run for Conference Chair in the next Congress,” Stefanik said in a statement on Tuesday.

Stefanik had long held her cards close to the vest on her plans for next year, often saying that she was focused on winning back the majority. 

Her announcement of intention to seek a second House GOP chair term came shortly after news leaked that Rep. Byron Donalds (R-Fla.) planned to host an event on Thursday to formally launch his own bid, which his office confirmed to The Hill.

Donalds, one of only two Black House Republicans in the current Congress, had previously said that he was exploring a run for the role.

A spokesperson for Donalds did not immediately respond about whether he still intended to launch a bid for the position in light of Stefanik’s announcement.

Rep. Ashley Hinson (R-Fla.), another freshman member who was reported to be interested in the conference chair position if Stefanik does not run again, threw her support behind Stefanik.

“. @RepStefanik has done an incredible job as our Conference chair and I’m proud to be on her team and support her. We will continue to work together to take back the House in November and get our country back on the right track,” Hinson said in a tweet responding to news that Stefanik plans to run again.

So did Rep. Mike Johnson (R-La.), vice chair of the House GOP Conference, who had also been reported as a potential pick for chair if Stefanik did not run.

“Serving as Vice Chairman of House Republicans alongside Chairwoman Stefanik has been one of the great highlights of my time in Congress. I look forward to continuing our work together to retake the House majority this fall by promoting the Republican agenda, and I fully support her bid to serve another term as Conference Chair,” Johnson said in a statement.

If Republicans win back the House, Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) becomes Speaker, and House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) moves up to the position of House Majority Leader, that leaves open the No. 3 position of House Majority Whip.

Rep. Tom Emmer (R-Minn.), currently chair of the National Congressional Campaign Committee, has “asked his colleagues for the opportunity to make an argument for Majority Whip once Republicans retake the House,” a spokesperson said last month.

Reps. Drew Ferguson (R-Ga.), currently the chief deputy whip, and Jim Banks (R-Ind.), current chair of the conservative Republican Study Committee, are also in the mix as members who may seek the position.

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