Republican Rep. Lee Zeldin on Monday backed Rep. Elise Stefanik's bid to become the third-ranking GOP lawmaker in the House of Representatives.  

A leadership vote is expected on Wednesday for the House Republican conference chair post currently held by Rep. Liz Cheney in what is viewed as a battle over the direction of the future of the Republican Party. Cheney has been deeply critical of former President Donald Trump; Stefanik has been a prominent supporter. 

Zeldin's backing of Stefanik comes as the leadership of the party has fallen behind Stefanik's bid for the post. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy on Sunday publicly announced he was backing Stefanik for the role. 

"So as we look forward toward the future, Elise Stefanik serving in higher capacities as the number 3 in the House Republican Conference, I believe would not just be in the best interest of the conference and also in the best interest of this region, but for so many other important causes as we look to the future," Zeldin said in Saratoga Springs. "Elise is someone who I consider a friend and who I believe would be an outstanding conference chair."

Zeldin, a Long Island Republican, last month launched a campaign for governor and so far has jumped out to secure endorsements from Republican and Conservative Party leaders around the state. Stefanik had been considered a potential candidate for the GOP nomination for governor as well.