The race is on to replace Paul Ryan as Speaker of the House — assuming the Wisconsin Republican chooses to retire, an eventuality everyone seems to be expecting, Politico reports.
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Majority Whip Steve Scalise, the top Republicans on Ryan's leadership team, have begun quietly rounding up support from their camps, Politico reports.
"Everyone is talking about this," one veteran Republican House member told Politico. "We're sizing them up, seeing who would be a better fit. It's the prism that we look at them through now."
McCarthy has been here before, in 2015 when Republicans were horse-trading on candidates to replace John Boehner. But his candidacy was sunk by conservative House Republicans, which led to Ryan agreeing to take the post.
Working in favor of the No. 2 House Republican is the endearing support of President Donald Trump, who likes to refer to the Californian as "my Kevin."
However, Scalise is riding a wave of popularity — having become somewhat of a folk hero — and support in the aftermath of the shooting last year that nearly killed him. The Louisiana Republican seems to be the fallback option in the event McCarthy can't get the votes, especially given what is very likely to be a slimmer majority — if Republicans hold onto their majority at all.
"The talk primarily is focused on Steve Scalise. ... He's somewhat of a heroic figure because of what he went through with the baseball shooting," Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Ala., a Freedom Caucus member, said last month, according to Breitbart.
"And then he's a little more conservative than Kevin McCarthy and thus, might be better suited."
To that end, McCarthy has been fundraising and stumping for a handful of Freedom Caucus members, Politico reports.
"It's McCarthy's to lose," another GOP lawmaker close with McCarthy told Politico.
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