Stefanik drew some national attention in the first race – she was the youngest woman ever elected to Congress – and has been seen as a rising star among established Republican types.
But something big happened last week during the first days of the public inquiry into President Donald Trump's behavior against Ukraine: She became a viral sensation in Trumpworld.
Stefanik attempted to speak and / or ask questions of Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch, who testified in front of the House Intelligence Committee about her removal of President Trump as the top diplomat in Ukraine. She was silenced by the intelligence committee chair Adam Schiff (California). Ranking member Devin Nunes (R-California) then interrupted Schiff to say he recognized Stefanik for using some of the 45-minute question time assigned to him and Schiff. Schiff went on to beat the club, noting that Nunes, according to the rules of the investigation, was not allowed to give his 45 minutes to another member.
"You gagging the young lady from New York?" Nunes said to Schiff.
Now, according to the established rules, Schiff was right. Both he and Nunes have 45 minutes to question the witnesses in the proceedings. (All other members have five minutes.) But the only person either person can allow to use that time – other than themselves – is the committee's lawyer sitting next to them at dais. Allocation of any of these 45 minutes to another member of Congress is prohibited by the rules.
Whatever! The image of Schiff giving down a young female member of Congress and refusing to let her talk was catnip for the Trump wing of the GOP.
When Stefanik got to speak – in the five minutes she was assigned – she raised questions about the appropriateness of Hunter Biden serving on the board of a Ukrainian natural gas company and focused on delivering anti-tank weapons to Ukraine under Trump, not Barack Obama.
She also strongly defended Trump in a news conference after the hearing, after much of the hearing had been used to talk about whether Trump had taken Yovanovitch in a tweet.
"These hearings are not about tweets, they are about impeaching the US president," Stefanik said at a controversial press conference following Friday's debate. "This is a constitutional issue. You may agree or disagree with the tweet, but we are here to talk about forgery and nothing in that room today, and nothing in that room this week, nothing rising to the level of unavoidable crime . " ] Stefanik had told CNN herself earlier on Friday that she disagreed with the tweet in question.
Stefanik's viral moment continues to linger in political consciousness thanks to George Conway, the husband's senior White House adviser Kellyanne Conway and one of the most outspoken and harsh critics of Trump and his Republican allies.
Whether you like it or not, the result of all this for Stefanik is nothing but good. She obviously has her eye on leadership roles within the House GOP and it has become very clear since Trump's election that the only path to success within the GOP is to be a fiery ally of the president.
You can be sure that McCarthy will be looking for ways to get Stefanik more into the leadership – to please Trump, help the party raise money from its small donor base and break up the largely male-dominated leadership lines within the House (and Senate) GOP.  How did Stefanik do it? She learned a critical lesson of the Trump era: It doesn't matter if you're right (she wasn't, according to the rules of the hearing). It does not matter if you are tall.