Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY 21) held a kickoff Thursday for the launch of her political action committee aimed at increasing the number of GOP women in the House. Notable attendees at the event held at the Samsung Solutions Center on Capitol Hill included: House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, House Minority Whip Steve Scalise, House GOP Conference Chair Liz Cheney, and Reps. Susan Brooks (IN-05), Jackie Walorski (IN-02), Jaime Herrera Beutler (WA-03), and Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA-05).
The presence of nearly every member of House GOP leadership on the panel signaled a cooling of tensions.
"It was just over a month ago that Emmer called Stefanik’s efforts to get involved in primaries a 'mistake.' The NRCC does not play in primaries. Stefanik, who had already stepped back from her NRCC leadership role, fired back on Twitter, saying she wasn’t asking for permission. ... 'I think they understand it now,' the congresswoman told reporters after the event."
"Women have already approached the NRCC about running, new executive director Parker Poling said, and the committee has referred those women to Stefanik." Stefanik's group, called E-PAC, has raised $250,000 so far with contributions from many of her GOP colleagues. (Roll Call)
But in the first panel, moderated by Stefanik, McCarthy, Cheney and Emmer looked back on the 2018 midterms and pointedly appeared to absolve Trump of much of the blame. Asked why Democrats won the House in 2018, McCarthy cited Pennsylvania redistricting, Maine's new ranked-choice voting system, Republican retirements and ballot harvesting in California. (Inside Elections)
In interviews and on panels, leadership also touted Rep. Ann Wagner's (R-MO 02) plans to revive the GOP's suburban caucus and blamed Democrats for targeting their female incumbents, the total number of which dropped from 23 to 13. Female GOP incumbents that lost reelection, bids for higher office or retired: Reps. Mimi Walters (CA-45), Diane Black (TN-06), Lynn Jenkins (KS-02), Barbara Comstock (VA-10), Karen Handel (GA-06), and Claudia Tenney (NY-22).