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Speculation builds about possible Scalise bid for House Speaker job

Speculation builds about possible Scalise bid for House Speaker job

"I was encouraged that Steve Scalise said this morning that he thinks that after the election that Kevin McCarthy ought to be the person to replace me", the Wisconsin Republican said.

"What it shows you is that we have an intact leadership team that supports each other, that's all heading in the right direction", the Speaker added. As several people have noted over the past day, it seems likely that Trump would back McCarthy over Scalise and might even act to discourage Scalise from challenging the California Congressman if he wants the job. 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.

Though the next months will likely see jockeying for position, both McCarthy and Scalise said Wednesday that they were not focusing on any potential leadership change, as Ryan was still speaker through the midterm elections.

He said on Thursday that he would not be departing early, despite some grumblings from Republicans concerned that Ryan's lame-duck status could throw a wrench in fundraising efforts. The GOP members elected in November will choose the next speaker if the party retains a majority.

He also dismissed talk that he would be the more conservative choice for Speaker.

On some level, I suppose it makes sense that Republicans would want to head into the elections in November with the question of who their next leader will be in the wake of Ryan.

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And an hour after Ryan said he will retire from the Congress in January, Republican Congressman Dennis Ross of Florida also announced that he will not seek re-election.

Multiple House Republicans - conservative and moderate - cautioned Thursday the GOP leadership race needs to be open, and that Ryan should not presume to pick his successor. "And they are going to immediately start positioning as this situation develops".

The chair of the House Republican conference has the best chance of any woman to win the job, and it is a slim one, which is a fair summary of the current state of her party.

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

But 2018 is a very different year for McCarthy, who has worked to shore up support among the conservative members once leery of him. Ryan intends to weigh in.