The number three Republican in the House of Representatives is facing political challenges from the far-right on Capitol Hill while facing a tough re-election in her New York congressional district.
"Freshman Rep. Byron Donalds (R-FL) isn’t backing out of the race for House GOP conference chair despite Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY), who currently holds the position, announcing she will seek another term in the next Congress," the Washington Examiner reported on Wednesday. "Stefanik’s decision is a reversal from her vow to conservatives to serve only one term in the leadership role during her bid to replace Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) after she was ousted from the position over her criticisms of former President Donald Trump."
Donalds is a member of the far-right freedom caucus.
“I'm glad he's running,” Rep. Ralph Norman (R-SC) told the newspaper. "He's a conservative, and a lot of us are actively supporting."
Donalds is one of two Black members of the GOP conference.
"Donalds also said he met Monday with former President Donald Trump — whom Stefanik made her name defending during his first impeachment — but declined to discuss the nature of their lunch, beyond the fact that the conference chair race came up," Politico reported Wednesday. "If Donalds can break through, he’d help the GOP conference make good on its long-held goals of more diverse representation, burnished through active recruitment of candidates of color."
Stefanik is also facing a tough challenge from former CIA officer Matt Castelli, who has seized on the issue of abortion after the Supreme Court overturned Roe vs. Wade, according to a new report by North Country Now.
“Today, extremist politicians are pushing a dangerous national abortion ban that would allow government to interfere in women’s personal freedoms - including here in New York. Elise Stefanik has sold out women by supporting this vast government overreach, and is completely out of step with the voters of NY-21 who don’t want the government in our bedrooms or our medical exam rooms. These politicians need to stay the hell out of where they don’t belong and stop regulating women’s bodies,” Castelli said.
Castelli has also had harsh words for Stefanik's efforts to overturn the 2020 election.
"Elise Stefanik colluded with her fellow insurrectionist supporting members of Congress to stop the certification of the presidential election on Jan. 6th and is, by definition, a traitor to American democracy," the former CIA officer charged on Wednesday.