Utah Republican Chris Stewart will not replace California Rep. Devin Nunes as the lead Republican on the House Intelligence Committee. Nunes is leaving Congress to become the CEO of Donald Trump’s new media company.
On Thursday, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy tapped Ohio Rep. Mike Turner to replace Nunes.
It was no secret that Stewart was pushing to take over the top spot from Nunes.
Politico reported Stewart began jockeying for the job shortly after Nunes announced his retirement. Stewart, who is the third-most senior Republican on the committee, said he believed he was “best qualified” for the job.
“Between my 14 years of military service and seven years on the committee, I strongly believe that I am best qualified for the position of ranking member. I spent more time than anyone studying our enemies and the threats they pose. From China to the Ukraine, Africa to Afghanistan, I have seen firsthand the dangers we face,” Stewart told Politico in a statement.
Apparently Stewart’s argument did not sway McCarthy, who had sole discretion over the pick.
Stewart is currently the chair of the Strategic Technologies and Advanced Research (STAR) Subcommittee, which deals with cybersecurity and intelligence.
It’s not the first time Stewart has been passed over for a top intelligence post in recent years.
In 2020, Stewart was reportedly in line to be named director of national intelligence in the Trump administration. Trump reportedly nixed Stewart for the job after learning about comments he made during the 2016 presidential campaign where Stewart called Trump “our Mussolini.”
Stewart is seeking his 6th term in Congress in 2022, but is being challenged for the GOP nomination by Salt Lake City lawyer Erin Rider.