McCarthy, Scalise Emerge As Frontrunners To Replace Ryan As Speaker

McCarthy, Scalise Emerge As Frontrunners To Replace Ryan As Speaker

In announcing that he won't run for re-election, U.S. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan has increased the likelihood that Majority Whip Steve Scalise, a Jefferson Parish Republican, could succeed him in filling one of the most important jobs in the free world.

"We're doing the things that we were elected to do to get our economy back on track, working with President Trump. we've gotten a lot done, but there's more we need to get done", he said on "Fox & Friends".

Speaker Paul Ryan's retirement announcement instantly thrust McCarthy and Scalise into a race for speaker that will unfold as the GOP battles to hold onto control of the House.

Scalise previously told Politico he's interested in being speaker someday, and he is broadly popular among his colleagues.

Burdened with an unpopular president, as well as having to keep a close eye on Scalise (R-La.) - who also has publicly declared his desire to be speaker, but only if McCarthy falters -the 53-year-old California Republican will have to find a way to lead the House GOP to victory in November.

"What it shows you is that we have an intact leadership team that supports each other, that's all heading in the right direction", he said.

This time, McCarthy isn't revealing much about his potential aspirations to move up the leadership chain, downplaying the urgency to mount a campaign for Speaker.

House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows told reporters Wednesday that while he has a preference in the speaker's race he will "absolutely not" share who that is yet.

Neither Scalise nor McCarthy have acknowledged a race for Ryan's job or definitively denied it.

"We don't need the drama or distraction", Representative Glenn Thompson of Pennsylvania said in an interview. Those conservatives are also going to demand more say in the House agenda and will leverage their votes to achieve that, the Republican said.

Some Republicans worry party cohesion could soon collapse amid this jockeying and a perceived vacuum after Ryan's surprise announcement - just when member focus is most needed on keeping the House majority.

'No, and I've said that before. But the whip's aides said while he and Ryan spoke Thursday morning, Scalise said nothing privately that differed from his public remarks, seemingly suggesting Ryan had gone too far.

McCarthy's biggest challenge is the same one that bedeviled Paul Ryan: appeasing the Freedom Caucus wingnuts, who have long viewed him with suspicion as insufficiently conservative for their tastes.

Multiple reports emerged Wednesday that Ryan will announce to Congress he will not seek another term in November. "It is obviously in our interest to keeping our majority that every player is on the field fighting for this majority, raising for this majority and it makes no sense to take the biggest fundraiser off the field and I think nearly all our members see it that way as well".