Steve Scalise likely out of running for House speaker as Paul Ryan endorses McCarthy
WASHINGTON (AP) — House Speaker Paul Ryan has endorsed his top lieutenant, Rep. Kevin McCarthy, to be his successor, giving a significant boost to the Californian’s candidacy in hopes of averting a divisive contest that could make an already difficult election year even tougher for divided Republicans.
“We all think that Kevin is the right person,” Ryan, R-Wis., said in an interview that will air Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
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. Ryan has said he will serve as speaker through the year, though some in the party want him to leave earlier.
On Thursday, Louisiana congressman and one of two front runners for the position, Steve Scalise said he would not run against McCarthy if he chose to run for it.
"I mean, I've never run against Kevin and wouldn't run against Kevin," Scalise told Fox News. "And he and I are good friends."
Ryan's endorsement seemingly puts an end to any speculation that Scalise would fill the vacancy after the current speaker's departure.