Rep. McCarthy Seeking to Replace Speaker Ryan

Paul Ryan Backing Kevin McCarthy as House Speaker

"We all think that Kevin is the right person", Ryan said to NBC's Meet the Press in an interview excerpt released Friday and set to air in full Sunday. He said McCarthy, who failed to garner the votes in his 2015 speaker bid, would be able to muster the needed support this time because he's been instrumental in passing GOP priorities over the past year.

"We have a great record to run on", Ryan said. "I've never run against Kevin and wouldn't run against Kevin", Scalise said Thursday on Fox News. "The California Teacher Association and the California Labor Federation endorsed our campaign this week; those are the endorsements that matter, not those of Paul Ryan", Matta said. Ryan also has had to navigate a sometimes contentious and often complicated relationship with President Donald Trump. "I think that's encouraging because what it shows you is that we have an intact leadership team that supports each other".

"He's been reaching out, trying to keep his promises to a number of members of the House Freedom Caucus".

Still, Ryan's endorsement doesn't mean that the race to replace him is close to over.

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Scalise and Jordan combined can deny McCarthy the necessary votes.

Certain lawmakers have predicted that Trump may have the decision power in the end when electing the next speaker. McCarthy still has to win the support of the conference and endure a months-long race for the speaker's gavel.

Ryan announced his impending retirement Wednesday. With Democrats ahead about 7 points on the most current generic ballot, the 2018 midterms are poised to be a blue wave election year. McCarthy was also considered the favorite in his first bid for speaker before protest from the conservative wing of the caucus derailed his bid.

That was also good news for the state's vulnerable congressional Republicans: While Ryan's surprise retirement announcement fanned fears that the party will lose its House majority in this year's midterms, McCarthy's new prominence could help them during a hard election season.

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