In Stefanik, G.O.P. Installs a Trump Convert Who Reflects the Party’s Shift

Even as she was allying herself with Mr. Trump, Ms. Stefanik was enjoying a main function in countering his impact on the Republican Party, which misplaced its House majority that 12 months partly as a result of suburban girls have been alienated by him. She started an intensive drive to recruit and elect extra G.O.P. girls, elevating enormous sums for the process.

But by the following 12 months, with Mr. Trump going through his first impeachment, Ms. Stefanik made it clear she was now not reluctant to be related to him. The starkest indication of her shift got here throughout his hearings and subsequent Senate trial, when the New York Republican served as certainly one of the former president’s defenders.

Her combative tone and willingness to lean into the proceedings as a partisan brawler catapulted her into the limelight, drawing widespread reward from conservatives on social media and attracting the consideration of Mr. Trump, who anointed her a “new Republican star.” The consideration additionally led to a important surge in marketing campaign donations, permitting Ms. Stefanik to construct a listing of over 200,000 small-dollar donors, in line with her aides.

Her efficiency additionally received over a few of the ultraconservative members she had earlier disdained. Representative Lee Zeldin, a New York Republican who served with Ms. Stefanik as an impeachment defender, recalled in an interview how she had rigorously ready her questioning behind the scenes, and praised how she had calibrated her fierce tone to the proceedings.

“When you’re talking about a bipartisan veterans’ bill that everybody’s going to agree with, you can have a press conference and everybody’s getting along and working together,” Mr. Zeldin mentioned, referring to Ms. Stefanik’s earlier inclination to work throughout the aisle. “But when you’re talking about impeachment of a sitting president of the United States, it’s different.”

It was these performances and her effort to elect extra Republican girls to Congress — which bore fruit final 12 months — that impressed occasion leaders, led by Representative Kevin McCarthy of California, the minority chief, to faucet Ms. Stefanik as they seemed to dethrone Ms. Cheney.

“We need to be united, and that starts with leadership,” Mr. McCarthy mentioned.

Capitalizing on the newfound swell of assist from conservatives and the backing of a variety of distinguished freshmen congresswomen whom she helped elect, Ms. Stefanik turned her consideration to bolstering her credentials with some hard-right members who have been nonetheless skeptical of her.

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