California's McCarthy expected to seek speaker position if Republicans keep the House

Rep. Kevin Mc Carthy responds to Paul Ryan not seeking re-election

Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.), are the clear frontrunners in this contact.

While Ryan is likely correct that most members don't want him to relinquish the speaker gavel early, many do want the House Republican Conference to avoid a protracted leadership battle for his post.

"I think who the next Speaker will be, will certainly be decided before November", stated Meadows. It was unclear what if any efforts were quietly underway to deny that support to McCarthy, but Scalise's remarks essentially left himself as the alternative.

"Today I'm announcing that this year will be my last one as a member of the House", said Ryan, R-Wisconsin. While he did not seek the position, he told his colleagues that serving as speaker has been the professional honor of his life, and he thanked them for the trust they placed in him.

"They set the agenda", Lee said.

"I have great confidence in this leadership team", he said. "And we did not do that four weeks ago on that big omnibus spending package, not even close".

McCarthy has not yet announced a bid for the speakership. McCarthy had previously run for speaker in 2015 to replace the retiring John Boehner, before abruptly withdrawing from the race.

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"We want to get millions of people who gave up looking for work to get back into the workforce".

"Paul is one of my best friends". It also called for "significant changes to conference leadership", a similar request to Jordan's concerns Wednesday.

The Freedom Caucus chair has sworn that he has no interest in a leadership position, but so did Paul Ryan during the last go-round, before McCarthy's unexpected withdrawal plunged the race into turmoil. And he has done some successful bridge-building with hardline conservatives in the House in recent years.

Meadows said McCarthy has been "reaching out, trying to keep his promises to a number of members of the House Freedom Caucus that will serve him well in whatever race should he throw his hat in the ring". They've been disappointed that House Republican leaders have yet to hold a vote on a conservative-authored immigration bill, backed by Virginia Republican Robert Goodlatte, that would impose strict new rules on both illegal and legal immigration and mandate an e-verify program for employers. But that does not address what might happen if a third candidate emerges, and it appears McCarthy can't collect a majority of party votes.

McCarthy, however, has an advantage he lacked in his 2015 campaign for speaker: A friendly relationship with the man in the Oval Office. Shrewdly, McCarthy has leaned all the way into this alliance, sort through bags of Starbursts to deliver to the president only the flavors he likes, not unlike a tired parent doing the little things to keep their toddler's screaming to a minimum.

Scalise has worked intensive physical therapy and other treatments into a jammed full-time schedule on Capitol Hill since returning to work in September.

McCarthy's spokesman did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

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