Scalise: I 'Wouldn't Run Against' McCarthy for Speaker

Reps. Cedric Richmond D-La. right and Steve Scalise R-La. play during the Republicans 8-7 victory in the 55th Congressional Baseball Game at Nationals Park

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Majority Whip Steve Scalise are widely viewed as the immediate frontrunners to succeed Ryan atop the House Republican Conference.

"I've got a job right now as the House majority whip and there's a lot more we need to do", Scalise said.

Fox host Brian Kilmeade asked Scalise if he anxious about the message it sent to the party over whether Paul's prospective retirement showed there was pessimism about keeping the majority. Instead, Scalise warned, "We need to stay focused on getting our job done and keeping the majority, because if we lose focus of that, Nancy Pelosi will be speaker, and I think we know how devastating that would be for our country".

Scalise also said Thursday morning on Fox News that he's "never run against Kevin, and wouldn't run against Kevin".

McCarthy has not yet announced a bid for the speakership. Scalise has more appeal among the aforementioned Freedom Caucus wingnuts, but he's also seen as a loyal chain-of-command type, and has pledged not to mount a direct challenge to McCarthy.

"They work well together on issues, even though they're both very partisan, so I think there's no question it would be a boon to the state of Louisiana if you were to have Steve Scalise as Speaker of the House, or as Minority Leader, working closely with Cedric Richmond, who, if the Democrats were to take the House, then Cedric Richmond would be in the majority and would probably be looking to move up into a leadership position himself", Collins said.

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Republicans were already discussing whether McCarthy or Scalise should be their next leader, even before Ryan announced Wednesday that he won't seek re-election in November.

House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows told reporters Wednesday that while he has a preference in the speaker's race he will "absolutely not" share who that is yet. "We would have more success if there's no ambiguity as to what the leadership structure might look like", Representative Tom Graves told Politico, calling for a speaker election A.S.A.P. "Certainty is important".

If Ryan has his way, he'll retain the speaker's gavel until the end of the 115th Congress, capping 20 years in Congress. Those conservatives are also going to demand more say in the House agenda and will leverage their votes to achieve that, the Republican said. He was elected in 2006 and rocketed into a leadership job in 2009, thanks to his campaigning for fellow Republicans.

When Paul Ryan announced yesterday that he was not seeking re-election to the House seat he's held since first being elected in 1998, he made it clear that he meant to stay on board as Speaker of the House through the end of the current term of Congress.

"The strength he's shown with his injury, I think, has heightened where he is" among colleagues, said Rep. Phil Roe, R-Tenn. "We first have to hold the majority before you determine whether or not you have a speaker".

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