Since upstate Rep. Elise Stefanik ousted Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) to become the third-ranking House Republican almost exactly one year ago, no GOPer’s stature has grown faster.
Now, with Republicans heavily favored to regain control of the House in this November’s midterm elections, speculation is swirling about what Stefanik plans to do next.
If the current House GOP hierarchy remained the same after a successful 2022 campaign, Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) would be in line to become Speaker, Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) would become majority leader, and Stefanik would be majority whip.
But a Washington Examiner report suggested Thursday that Stefanik is leaning against seeking the whip position if Republicans do take control of Congress.
The report suggested that Stefanik would not have a free ride to the whip’s office — with Chief Deputy Whip Drew Ferguson (R-Ga.) and Republican Study Committee Chairman Jim Banks (R-Ind.) thought to be among those eyeing the post.
Multiple sources close to Stefanik told The Post on Thursday that she has not made a decision on what’s next.
If the lawmaker does keep her options open, she could be in line for a much more prominent position — a potential 2024 running mate for former President Donald Trump.
“There is a part of Trump who thinks he needs a female VP,” a Trump adviser told CNN this week. “He definitely likes her, likely because of how effusive she is to him.”
“President Trump thinks very highly of Elise Stefanik … She has been talked about in circles close to him as a potential vice presidential [pick],” Newsmax Media CEO Chris Ruddy, a longtime Trump pal, told the outlet. “And there’s a feeling among a lot of people on the Republican side that they need to have a woman on the ticket this time.”
Trump has not hidden his support of Stefanik. He’s headlined three big-ticket fundraisers for her and is hosting a fourth at his Westchester golf course next month.
“Elise is a well-known fighter for her district and knows how to communicate our America First message on offense and win,” Trump communications director Taylor Budowich said this week.
In October, Stefanik told The Post that it “would be an honor” to serve in the former president’s administration if he is elected again.
“If President Trump is reelected president I think it would be an honor to serve in his administration,” she said. “I hope he runs, I will continue doing the best job I can serving my district and serving as conference chair — and being the best mom I can be to Sam [her infant son].”
With just over five months until the November midterm and more than two years until the election, Stefanik’s spokespeople say her main focus now is serving as the House Republican Conference Chair.
“Congresswoman Stefanik is 100% focused on serving New York’s 21st Congressional District and as House Republican Conference Chair helping lead the efforts to take back the House in 2022 to fire Nancy Pelosi once and for all to save America,” said Alex DeGrasse, a senior adviser to the congresswoman.
“Congresswoman Stefanik is focused on serving as House Republican Conference Chair as the chief messaging and communications strategist for what is looking to be a red tsunami in the House,” communications director Ali Black told The Post. “She is committed to working her hardest in the #3 slot thru Election Day to ensure we fire Nancy Pelosi once and for all. She is encouraged by the positive outpouring of support and encouragement from her colleagues for future opportunities in the House.
“She never takes any election for granted and she will not be making any announcements about future positions until after ensuring Republicans win big this November to save America.”