GLENS FALLS, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Rep. Liz Cheney has been voted out as House GOP Conference Chair, and Rep. Elise Stefanik of the 21st District of New York was the first to put her formal bid in for the job. This would put Stefanik in the third-ranking House GOP position.
With Chuck Schumer as Senate Majority Leader and Stefanik in line for the GOP House Conference Chair, the change would mean two major power players from New York state.
“In politics, in any legislative branch, seniority and leadership matter the most. And if you’re trying to get things done, being a leader can help make a difference,” Blair Horner, NYPIRG Executive Director, said.
Horner pointed out that leadership position or not, Stefanik still resides in the minority party.
“So, they obviously have less oomph politically than the majority party members, but clearly, she’ll be able to speak her mind and have an impact within the house minority conference in a way that she couldn’t before this change.”
However, Timothy Weaver, Associate Political Science Professor at the University of Albany, said Stefanik’s possible position might already be at stake.
“The question about what this means for New York really rests on what New York does in the reapportionment of the congressional districts,” Weaver said.
New York’s census data reported 89 people short in keeping the state’s 27 current seats in Congress. Therefore, New York must lose one seat due to that population shift, and Weaver said it’s possible that Stefanik’s seat could even disappear.
“So, it’s really unclear exactly what’s going to happen, or what the consequences for New York might be of her rise within the party,” Weaver said.
As for Stefanik’s constituents, her rise in the party breeds mixed reactions.
“I’m a more moderate Republican, but I am a Republican, and I won’t vote for her again, I’m sorry,” Robert Johnson, Fort Ann resident, said.
“She could change. Maybe she’s positioning herself to get into the Republican party further, and maybe she’s going to work within the party to change it. I would hope so, but I doubt it.”
“I always liked Liz Cheney; I always liked her dad. I mean, even though I’m a Democrat, but I always voted independent too,” Terry White, South Glens Falls resident, said.
“If she can help the constituents and stuff like that, we’ll see. But if she’s just going to go in there and just pad it up? I’ll be like, we should get somebody else then.”