Paul Ryan openly endorses Kevin McCarthy as his successor

WASHINGTON – House Speaker Paul Ryan in NBC interview backs Majority Leader Kevin Mc Carthy of California as his successor

In a preview clip from his interview with NBC's Meet the Press, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) said Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA ) was "he right person" to become the next speaker.

Whoever wins the speakership needs a simple majority of the entire House - about 218 votes. Ryan claimed he has chose to not to seek reelection strictly so he could spend time with family, though many speculate that he stepped down to avoid the midterm election, where the Democrats have a very good chance of taking the House of Representatives from the Republicans.

"As whip Scalise has said publicly for weeks, he will not challenge leader McCarthy should he choose to seek the speaker's gavel".

"I think we all believe that Kevin is the right person".

House Republicans' second in command - to succeed him as speaker, in an interview with NBC. "I think that's encouraging because what it shows you is that we have an intact leadership team that supports each other".

The Freedom Caucus, which numbers about three dozen House members, has always been critical of McCarthy, even though he's close to President Donald Trump.

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In the current House, which has 237 Republicans, the Freedom caucus sways enough votes to keep any candidate from getting a majority vote needed to ascend to House Speaker should Ryan step down before his term is up in January.

He'll leave amid a tough uphill battle for Republicans as Democrats intend to wrestle back control of the House in the midterm elections this November.

Ultimately, Ryan's endorsement is symbolic, but it also carries a lot of weight among rank-and-file House Republicans.

McCarthy has worked to cultivate a positive relationship with Trump, who initially crowed when McCarthy dropped out of the speaker's race in 2015. Thanks to his safely red Central Valley seat, he has been able to dole out most of that money to other candidates, including Golden State colleagues who are seen as some of the most vulnerable House members in the country.

In a signal of continued conservative disgruntlement, Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, said Friday he's "open to running" for the top job.

Jordan is "a nice guy, but the Freedom Caucus has been the main source of our problems", King said.

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