Republicans are taking steps to boost their chances at picking up retiring Rep. Bill OwensWilliam (Bill) Lewis Owens'60 Minutes' chief out at CBS amid harassment allegations Races to watch in Tuesday’s primaries Rural voters speak loudly in midterms, Democrats pay the price MORE's (D-N.Y.) House seat by coalescing party support behind former Bush White House official Elise StefanikElise Marie StefanikPelosi calls on Ryan to bring long-term Violence Against Women Act to floor Preventing violence isn’t partisan: Time to reauthorize Violence Against Women Act Hillicon Valley: North Korean IT firm hit with sanctions | Zuckerberg says Facebook better prepared for midterms | Big win for privacy advocates in Europe | Bezos launches B fund to help children, homeless MORE.

Rep. Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanPelosi calls on Ryan to bring long-term Violence Against Women Act to floor Juan Williams: America warms up to socialism Jordan hits campaign trail amid bid for Speaker MORE (R-Wis.) tweeted out his endorsement of the candidate Tuesday night.


Stefanik directed debate preparation for Ryan, when he ran for vice president in 2012, but the tweet was as much a strategic choice as it was a favor for a friend.

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Stefanik is the establishment pick in the primary, where she faces Tea Party leader and retired Army Maj. Joseph Gilbert and activist Michael Ring. John James, the actor who played Jeff Colby on the television show “Dynasty,” is considering launching a bid as well, according to local reports.

But while Democrats are gleeful at the prospect of a messy Republican primary — the likes of which contributed to their loss when Owens first won the seat in 2009 — there are early indications Stefanik might have a broad base of support in the primary.

Ryan's endorsement will certainly endear her to conservatives, and she has plans to address a gathering of the New York Conservative Party later this month. And the party's executive director, Shaun Marie, had effusive praise for the Stefanik after Owens announced his retirement on Tuesday. 

“She’s a great candidate, absolutely great,” he told The Hill. “If I lived in the district, I would absolutely cast a vote for her.”