Who will replace House Speaker Paul Ryan?

Paul Ryan Exit Paves the Way for Steve Scalise

Barring an early abdication of Ryan's leadership - which he ruled out on Thursday - the next House speaker will be elected by a simple majority of the next Congress in January.

Scalise said the promises on which the GOP is running will be irrelevant if there is a continued presence of Rep. Nancy Pelosi in House leadership.

On Thursday's broadcast of the Fox News Channel's "America's Newsroom", House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) said he would not run against House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) if McCarthy runs to replace Paul Ryan (R-WI) as House Speaker.

The California congressman described by one House Republican aide as "your favorite fraternity brother"-apparently a compliment- was the leading candidate to replace outgoing speaker John Boehner in 2015 before he abruptly withdrew his name from the race, ostensibly because he wanted a "new face" to unite the party and possibly in response to salacious rumors about his personal life, never since proven or disproven, that were meant to torpedo his candidacy". "He and I are good friends".

But piling up campaign cash for other Republicans ranks high among the responsibilities for members of congressional leadership.

A day earlier, House Speaker Paul Ryan told colleagues he wouldn't seek re-election in November, implicitly starting the race to replace him.

"We haven't seen this level of instability in decades", Xavier University Professor and Pollster Silas Lee said.

If Ryan has his way, he'll retain the speaker's gavel until the end of the 115th Congress, capping 20 years in Congress.




Scalise was critically injured in June 2017 when he and four others were shot in Alexandria, Virginia.

Scalise is extremely well regarded, but McCarthy is perhaps closer to President Trump than any member of the House or Senate - so much so that he has been mentioned as a possible White House chef of staff on two separate occasions.

Scalise said McCarthy should be considered a "conservative" and said he has helped get "big things" done during his time in Congress, citing the tax bill as his main achievement. "Scalise and McCarthy had already been positioning themselves for the next leadership race".

"My dad died when I was 16, the age my daughter is", Ryan said.

The Freedom Caucus chair has sworn that he has no interest in a leadership position, but so did Paul Ryan during the last go-round, before McCarthy's unexpected withdrawal plunged the race into turmoil. He raised $8.75 million in the first quarter of this year and has done fundraisers for 40 GOP candidates, said a person familiar with his political operation.

For now, Scalise says he's focused on helping the GOP hang on to the house.

Scalise is viewed as more conservative than McCarthy. That could be intensified after November, when Republicans are expected to lose seats and many of those departing will be moderates.

Either man could cut a deal with the House Freedom Caucus.

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