Top GOP lawmakers jockeying to replace Ryan if he steps down: report

Top GOP lawmakers jockeying to replace Ryan if he steps down: report
© Greg Nash

Two top members of Republican leadership have been lobbying for the position of Speaker if Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanJuan Williams: Pelosi shows her power Cheney takes shot at Trump: 'I like Republican presidents who win re-election' Cheney allies flock to her defense against Trump challenge MORE (R-Wis.) decides to step down, Politico reported Monday.

Majority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin McCarthySchiff: McCarthy 'will do whatever Trump tells him' if GOP wins back House House GOP campaign arm raises .8 million in third quarter McCarthy raises nearly M so far this year MORE (Calif.) and Majority Whip Steve ScaliseStephen (Steve) Joseph ScaliseHouse GOP campaign arm raises .8 million in third quarter The Hill's 12:30 Report - The Conference of Presidents of Major Italian American Organizations - 90-year-old 'Star Trek' actor describes space visit GOP leader's remarks on Fox underscore Trump's power MORE (La.) have been courting other Republicans for support, according to interviews with 20 Republican lawmakers and staff the news outlet conducted.

Both men downplayed the report and Scalise told Politico he would not challenge McCarthy for Speaker. 

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President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump criticizes Justice for restoring McCabe's benefits Biden: Those who defy Jan. 6 subpoenas should be prosecuted Hillicon Valley — Presented by LookingGlass — Hackers are making big money MORE is reportedly fond of McCarthy and his endorsement could help solidify support among conservatives. The two met for dinner last Wednesday.

Some Republicans told Politico that the relationship would help ensure McCathy’s path to victory, unlike his unsuccessful bid for Speaker in 2015.

“It’s McCarthy’s to lose,” a GOP lawmaker close with McCarthy told the news outlet. “I think he’s in a lot stronger place than last time because he’s got a close relationship with Trump.”

McCarthy, however, would face opposition from members of the House Freedom Caucus who view Ryan and his predecessor, former Speaker John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerRift widens between business groups and House GOP Juan Williams: Pelosi shows her power Debt ceiling games endanger US fiscal credibility — again MORE (R-Ohio), as weak on the conservative position, Politico noted.

“He’s not Speaker now because he’s got a fairly liberal Republican track record,” Rep. Mo BrooksMorris (Mo) Jackson BrooksWatchdog group seeks ethics probe over McCarthy's Jan. 6 comments Jan. 6 panel seeks records of those involved in 'Stop the Steal' rally Jan. 6 panel to ask for preservation of phone records of GOP lawmakers who participated in Trump rally: report MORE (R-Ala.), a Freedom Caucus member, told a local Alabama radio station last month, it added.

Brooks said Scalise is better suited for the role. The majority whip is also viewed as a “heroic figure” after he was shot last summer during a baseball practice, the Alabama lawmaker noted.

Ryan’s team has denied he is resigning anytime soon and McCarthy said his only focus right now is maintaining the Republican majority in the House and pushing Trump’s agenda.

“Paul Ryan is our Speaker and I hope he is our speaker for a very long time,” McCarthy said in a statement.