Steve Scalise reiterates he won't challenge Kevin McCarthy for House speaker

15 April, 2018, 06:38 | Author: Brenda Erickson
  • Paul Ryan Backing Kevin McCarthy as House Speaker

Ryan ascended to the speakership during a tumultuous moment for House Republicans and was seen as the only person who could get the necessary votes for the job. "It makes no sense to take the biggest fundraiser off the field".

"The president has a great relationship with Kevin McCarthy, but in terms of an announcement about who he wants to see as the next speaker, I don't have any announcements on that front", press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said at a press briefing.

The leadership vacancy comes at an awkward time for a GOP that could face massive losses in this November's congressional elections, perhaps losing House control.

McCarthy backed out of a leadership race three years ago amid similar divisions. "I'm not saying every single person in Congress".

Several Republicans, speaking on the condition of anonymity to frankly describe internal discussions, brought up the example of Eric Cantor, R-Va., the former House majority leader who suddenly became a lame duck when he lost his June 2014 primary.

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"Paul Ryan was the franchise", Davis said. Either way, his endorsement is likely carry real sway with many rank-and-file lawmakers. "The last thing we need right now in our conference, I believe, is a protracted leadership battle".

McCarthy has raised more money for Republicans and some consider him closer to President Donald Trump, but Scalise has more support from the party's conservative House members. If they decide to put up their own long-shot candidate like Jordan, that would draw conservative votes away from McCarthy and step up the likelihood that the No. 2 Republican would seek to cut a deal with the group. McCarthy is now Majority Leader in the House.

In a signal of continued conservative disgruntlement, Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, said Friday he's "open to running" for the top job. "He did the opposite. You earn respect from people, I think, by doing that".

McCarthy emerged from the Wednesday evening chat confident he had Trump's backing to succeed Ryan, said one of the sources, a GOP operative.

The president, Cornyn said, "was scrupulously neutral, because they were all there".

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