Published: Fri, April 13, 2018
World | By Camille Rivera

Speculation builds about possible Scalise bid for House Speaker job

Speculation builds about possible Scalise bid for House Speaker job

A day after his retirement announcement, Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanRyan signals support for McCarthy as next GOP leader Paul Ryan's successor must embrace the House Freedom Caucus Bannon's Russian Federation probe cover-up plan would start two political civil wars MORE (R-Wis.) on Wednesday signaled support for House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthyRyan signals support for McCarthy as next GOP leader Trump, GOP leaders don't talk Mueller at private dinner Hoyer's spot as Pelosi heir challenged by younger reps MORE (R-Calif.) as his successor.

"He'll liberate McCarthy and Scalise to go out and campaign like crazy" to keep the majority, and "that'll be a significant factor in which of them gets picked" to replace Ryan, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said by phone Wednesday. McCarthy, if he takes another shot at becoming speaker, still needs to lock in the votes of the vast majority of his conference - and if he falls short, Scalise could be the backup option for a number of lawmakers.

"I mean, I've never run against Kevin and wouldn't run against Kevin", the Louisiana Republican told Fox News, adding, "and he and I are good friends".

More than the President, though, the path to the Speakership for McCarthy, Scalise, or anyone else is going to have to run through the House Freedom Caucus.

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"He got 86.09 percent of votes", Mazahir Panahov, the Central Election Commission chairman told a news conference. Monitors, including the Organization for Cooperation and Security in Europe, were watching the vote.

Either way, it's clear that Ryan intends to set up McCarthy for the position should Republicans retain the House.

"Today I'm announcing that this year will be my last one as a member of the House", said Ryan, R-Wisconsin. Disconcertingly for the GOP, Trump's unpopularity and early Democratic momentum leave it unclear whether Ryan's replacement will be speaker or minority leader. Ryan weighing in on the choice wouldn't account for the will of any newly elected Republicans who'll take office after the November elections. All the analysts are saying you're going to have a blue wave.

Ryan's statement, presented as an off-hand comment, comes as a surprise.

"The strength he's shown with his injury, I think, has heightened where he is" among colleagues, said Rep. Phil Roe, R-Tenn.

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And while Scalise has said in the past that he wouldn't challenge McCarthy for the GOP's top spot, members were under the impression that Scalise may be reconsidering that stance now that Ryan's departure is assured. That relationship could help him argue to fellow Republicans that he is in the best position to advance the White House agenda on Capitol Hill.

Our sources say that could pull an already divided conference even further apart.

With House Speaker Paul Ryan's announcement that he'll retire from Congress at the end of his current term, a new leadership battle is brewing inside the Capitol - setting up a 216-day fight for the Speaker's gavel. But GOP leaders and a key Democrat - Louisiana Rep. Cedric Richmond [D-New Orleans], who is now chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus - rallied behind him, and the furor subsided. "We first have to hold the majority before you determine whether or not you have a speaker".

"It's obviously in our interest to keeping our majority, that every player is on the field fighting for this majority", Ryan said.

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