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House Speaker Paul Ryan Endorses Kevin McCarthy to Succeed Him

16 April 2018

Vice President Mike Pence and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, a California Republican, are teaming up - again - for another fundraising swing in California at the end of the month, according to a source familiar with the events.

"We all think Kevin is the right person to become Speaker", Ryan said in an interview NBC's Chuck Todd on Friday.

Kevin McCarthy previously ran for House Speaker against Paul Ryan in 2015.

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Ryan said that while he believes McCarthy can line up enough votes now to win the job, he doesn't want a campaign for the party's top job to sidetrack GOP lawmakers at a crucial time. Some have said that in the "Trump primary", McCarthy has an edge, while on the other hand, Scalise has been termed as the "Legend of Louisiana". Ryan also has had to navigate a sometimes contentious and often complicated relationship with President Donald Trump. "One of the reasons why I was comfortable making this decision is because we have a very capable leadership team".

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. "Second, if we elect a Democratic majority to the House, the Speaker will be a Democrat".

Ryan's endorsement for McCarthy is only the first word on the race, of course.

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With Republicans gearing up for a tough midterm election this fall in which their majority is at stake, Ryan suggested he wanted to head off a potentially destructive internecine battle.

Although Ryan asserted on "Meet the Press" that Scalise agrees McCarthy is the best choice to be the next speaker, Scalise hasn't pulled his name from consideration. That may be good news for McCarthy because he is close to Trump - as is House Freedom Caucus Chair Mark Meadows, a conservative from North Carolina.

McCarthy has been spending considerable time with the members of Freedom Caucus and has also sent out birthday cards to some members.

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House Speaker Paul Ryan Endorses Kevin McCarthy to Succeed Him