Published: Sun, April 15, 2018
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Paul Ryan endorses Kevin McCarthy

Paul Ryan endorses Kevin McCarthy

House Speaker Paul Ryan told NBC's "Meet the Press" that he wants to see House Majority Kevin McCarthy take over as House speaker.

On Wednesday, Ryan, R-Wis., announced that he would not be seeking re-election in November, a move that ends a almost two-decade career in Congress. "We are with you Paul!" in a Twitter post.

Ryan has pledged to remain Speaker until the conclusion of the 115th Congress next January. "Our leadership team, I'm saying", the Wisconsin Republican told NBC News in an exclusive interview released Friday. "It makes no sense to take the biggest fundraiser off the field". Ryan also has had to navigate a sometimes contentious and often complicated relationship with President Donald Trump.

So far McCarthy is only saying there isn't a race for Speaker yet.

"The president has a great relationship with Kevin McCarthy, but in terms of an announcement on who he wants to see as the next speaker, I don't have any announcements on that", Sanders said.

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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. Aides to McCarthy and Scalise declined to immediately provide comment.

The leadership vacancy comes at an awkward time for a GOP that could face massive losses in this November's congressional elections, perhaps losing House control.

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"What means most to me is that in the next Congress, there is an opportunity for a Republican to be speaker and not Nancy Pelosi", he said, referring to the House Democratic leader.

"What's changed is we have gotten a lot done", Ryan said.

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The move helps elevate the No. 2 House Republican in a bid to replace Ryan and potentially heads off a messy and protracted leadership battle before the midterm elections.

Rep. Tom Graves, a Georgian who chairs an Appropriations subcommittee and is closely allied with McCarthy, has pressed colleagues for a faster process - one that would play out before the end of April, according to GOP lawmakers and aides who have spoken to him.

"It's like Eisenhower resigning right before D-Day", said Tom Davis, a former Republican congressman from Virginia, who once headed the House GOP's campaign committee. Either way, his endorsement is likely carry real sway with many rank-and-file lawmakers.

Conservatives, meanwhile, are quietly plotting how they can enhance their own leverage as the process plays out. In their thinking, a longer-percolating race gives them a bigger role in shaping its outcome.

Meanwhile, Tea Party conservatives are actively promoting other candidates for the position, including Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), co-founder of the Freedom Caucus. He leaned into it.

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Ryan announced his impending retirement Wednesday.

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