“Members do not want to have to defend themselves against attacks from members of their own leadership team,” said John Feehery, a Republican strategist and former House leadership aide. “The primary job of the House Republican Conference chair is to set up and facilitate the weekly press conferences conducted by the House Republican leadership. If you go out of your way to embarrass your leaders at those press conferences, you are not doing your job and you won’t last in that position very long.”
Representative Ashley Hinson of Iowa, a rising freshman star who voted against her party’s attempt to invalidate the election results, came out on Thursday in support of Ms. Stefanik, saying she respected Ms. Cheney’s “strong conservative record and service to our country” but wanted relief from the infighting that had plagued the conference.
“If Republicans are divided, and not focusing all of our efforts against radical Democrat policies, Speaker Pelosi will remain in power,” Ms. Hinson said in a statement that called Ms. Stefanik “the right person to unify and lead our conference at this time.”
Others appeared torn. Representative Nancy Mace, Republican of South Carolina, who had vocally condemned Mr. Trump for his role in encouraging the attack on the Capitol on Jan. 6 and warned that the Republican Party could not define itself solely around the former president, said she was tired of “having these fights publicly.”
“I want to move forward,” Ms. Mace told Fox Business’s Neil Cavuto. “I want to win back the House in a year and a half. We can get the majority back, and we’ve got to stop fighting with each other in public.”
Ms. Mace warned that if the party continued “to make our party and our country about one person, and not about hard-working Americans in the this country, we’re going to continue to lose elections.” Asked whether she was referring to Mr. Trump or Ms. Cheney, Ms. Mace replied, “All of the above.”
Some arch-conservative Republicans who are eager to oust Ms. Cheney — many of whom have despised her hawkish foreign policy views for years — have been quietly skeptical of Ms. Stefanik despite her endorsement from Mr. Trump, noting the low rankings conservative groups like the Heritage Foundation and American Conservative Union have given her. On Wednesday night, the anti-tax Club for Growth opposed her campaign, branding her “a liberal.”