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- House Speaker Paul Ryan told NBC’s “Meet the Press” that he wants to see House Majority Kevin McCarthy take over as House speaker.
- Ryan announced his impending retirement Wednesday.
- Republicans expect a battle between McCarthy and Majority Whip Steve Scalise for the speaker’s role.
House Speaker Paul Ryan on Friday endorsed a potential successor, saying he prefers House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy over Majority Whip Steve Scalise.
Ryan said during an interview with NBC’s “Meet the Press” that McCarthy should take the speaker’s gavel after Ryan leaves Congress in January.
“We all believe Kevin is the right person, we all think Kevin is the right person,” Ryan said.
Even Scalise, who is viewed as McCarthy’s top challenger, believes that McCarthy should take over as speaker, Ryan said.
Scalise also told Fox News on Thursday that he does not plan to run against McCarthy.
“I’ve never run against Kevin and wouldn’t run against Kevin,” Scalise said. “He and I are good friends.”
Ryan also batted back concerns that McCarthy’s run for speaker may end up like it did in 2015, when the California Republican dropped out of the speaker’s race despite being the frontrunner because not enough members voiced support for his candidacy.
While Ryan may prefer McCarthy take over as speaker, several wild cards could derail the coronation.
For one thing, an outside candidate like House Freedom Caucus head Jim Jordan could throw a wrench into the race. For another, Republicans may be jockeying to become the next minority leader, since Democrats currently hold a significant polling advantage on generic congressional ballots.
Ryan dismissed the possibility that Democrats would take over the House and pointed to recent accomplishments as evidence the party would keep its majority.
“I fully expect to hand the gavel over to the next Speaker of the House after this term and I think Kevin is the right guy to step up,” Ryan said.