There’s a short list of possible Speaker of the House replacements for Rep. Paul Ryan who announced on Wednesday he’s not running for re-election. They each have to hold their breath, of course, to see if Republicans hold on to the House in the mid-term election.
Ryan, 48, accomplished a major goal when tax reform was passed, but he has become frustrated in the job partly because of President Donald Trump, sources told Axios.
Here’s a list of the top Republicans prospects to replace him:
1.Kevin McCarthy: The California Republican and current House Majority Leader was considered one of the leading contenders for the job when John Boehner left the post in 2015.
The Hill reported McCarthy, 53, recently sided with Trump in calling for a second special counsel to investigate allegations of political bias at the FBI and Justice Department. The Hill said McCarthy "has gone to great lengths to curry favor with the president," even giving him Trump's preference for the pink and red Starbursts as a gift recently.
McCarthy has been trying to win support of the conservative Freedom Caucus, which didn't support him in earlier efforts because of his "liberal Republican track record," according to Politico.
2. Steve Scalise: The Louisiana Republican, 52, the House Majority Whip, was seriously injured by a gunman during baseball practice for annual charity baseball game against Democrats in June 2017.
The Hill said Scalise has equally been vying for Trump's affection but has said, according to Axios, that he wouldn't run against McCarthy if the Californiam threw his hat in the ring.
Politico reported, though, that Scalise's growing profile has created some tension with McCarthy allies who view him as a threat. The McCarthy camp reportedly was furious when Scalise refused to rule out a bid for speaker some day in a Politico interview.
Newsmax White House correspondent John Gizzi said on Wednesday that McCarthy, who withdrew from the race for speaker in ’15 and helped convince Ryan to run, has signaled he is not interested in becoming speaker if Republicans retain the majority this November.
3. Mark Meadows: The North Carolina Republican is chairman of the Freedom Caucus, which played kingmaker in 2015 by rallying against McCarthy, leading to Ryan stepping in as the current speaker.
In 2017, Meadows, along with caucus members Jim Jordan of Ohio and Scott Perry of Pennsylvania took their concerns about their conservative agenda directly to Ryan, per The Washington Post. If McCarthy and Scalise falter, Meadow appears to be the likely conservative candidate who could step into the vacuum.
4. Cathy McMorris Rodgers: The Washington Republican sits behind McCarthy and Scalise in the party's House leadership as Republican Conference chair.
According to the Spokane Spokesman-Review, she was endorsed by the Ryan-backed super PAC Congressional Leadership Fund in January in her midterm re-election bid. The speakership, where she would become only the second woman to ever hold the job, could give her a big boost in her re-election race, allowing the party to hold on the seat.
There are other possibilities.
5. Jim Jordan: The aforementioned vocal member of the Freedom Caucus has been critical of Ryan and his leadership. In February, Jordan, 54, complained that the government funding agreement the speaker championed was "not consistent" with the promises Republicans made to cut spending, and that Ryan's support for the deal undermined his leadership. Jordan has been a leader on defunding Planned Parenthood and Ex-Im Bank.
6. Dan Webster: The Florida Republican ran against Ryan in 2015 as an insurgent candidate supported by some members of the Freedom Caucus, the Washington Post noted. Webster, 68, is the former leader in the Florida state legislature.
7. Pete Roskam: The Illinois Republican lost out to Scalise to become House Whip in 2015. Then, he was critical of former House Speaker John Boehner and said in a statement then that he was "shocked" when McCarthy dropped out of the race to replace him. Roskam, 56, had earlier led a charge to investigate the Internal Revenue Service.
8. Raul Labrador: The Idaho Republican called Boehner the "worst speaker in history" in 2016 and supported Texas U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz in the past presidential campaign in 2016, according to CNN. Labrador, 50, also challenged McCarthy as House Speaker with Boehner dropped out of the position.
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