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Paul Ryan endorses Kevin McCarthy as next speaker

14 April 2018
Paul Ryan endorses Kevin McCarthy as next speaker

House Speaker Paul Ryan says he believes his deputy, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, should be the next Speaker following Ryan's retirement at the end of the current session next January.

"We all think Kevin is the right person to become Speaker", Ryan said in an interview NBC's Chuck Todd on Friday. "I'm not saying every single person in Congress".

House Speaker Paul Ryan told colleagues Wednesday he wouldn't seek re-election in November, implicitly starting the race to replace him. Now McCarthy needs to work hard to win over the House Freedom Caucus, the most conservative faction among House Republicans, numbering 40 members. When former House Speaker John Boehner resigned, all eyes were on the California Republican.

Ryan said he doesn't want there to be a vote on his successor until after the November election. That may be good news for McCarthy because he is close to Trump - as is House Freedom Caucus Chair Mark Meadows, a conservative from North Carolina.

Still, Ryan argued he was envisioning this speaker's race would be "a more seamless transition" than the race in 2015 that led to members of the GOP conference having to draft Ryan after McCarthy stepped aside.

McCarthy suggested in 2015 that a House committee probing the deadly 2012 raid on the USA embassy in Benghazi, Libya, had damaged Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton's poll numbers, undermining GOP arguments that the investigation wasn't politically motivated. For another, Republicans may be jockeying to become the next minority leader, since Democrats now hold a significant polling advantage on generic congressional ballots. "I think Kevin's the right guy to step up".

The 53-year-old was first elected to the House of Representatives in California's 22nd District in 2006 with more than 70% of the vote.

In an interview Friday, Jordan declined to discuss whether, in a potential bid by him for party leader, he might consider cutting a deal with another candidate that would have him accepting another top job, such as majority leader.