“We must avoid putting in charge Republicans who campaign as Republicans but then vote for and advance the Democrats’ agenda once sworn in,” Roy wrote.
Data compiled by CQ Vote Watch shows Cheney voted the same way other Republicans did far more often than Stefanik during Trump’s presidency, especially after Democrats took control of the House in 2019.
Cheney’s “party unity score” was never lower than 96 percent from 2017 through 2020, while Stefanik’s scores were at 88 percent and 87 percent in 2017 and 2018, dropped to 68 percent in 2019, and then rose to 82 percent in 2020.
Cheney also voted more often than Stefanik for the positions Trump took.
In 2019, for example, Cheney voted for the positions Trump supported 97% of the time, compared with 93% for the average Republican and 61% for Stefanik.
Roy also took issue with the swift effort by McCarthy and Scalise to whip conference votes and anoint Stefanik as the presumptive replacement for Cheney before the Wyoming Republican was voted out.
“Therefore, with 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,” Roy wrote.
He called for the GOP conference to either find a No. 3 leader who “reflects our conservative values,” or leave the position vacant, saying it is a leadership role that voters don’t know or care about.
Coloraod Rep. Ken Buck also voiced his opposition to Stefanik after Wednesday’s meeting, but said that he wasn’t aware of alternative candidates emerging. “We have 212 members. The only person I would not vote for is Elise Stefanik and myself,” said Buck.
But many rank-and-file GOP members are expected to fall in line behind Stefanik and the leadership’s choice, citing unity among Republicans in opposition to the Biden administration and Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s agenda in the House.