McCarthy says early leadership election to replace Ryan unlikely

McCarthy says early leadership election to replace Ryan unlikely
© Greg Nash

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin McCarthyOvernight Defense & National Security — Texas hostage situation rattles nation The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Democrats see victory in a voting rights defeat Former acting Defense secretary under Trump met with Jan. 6 committee: report MORE (R-Calif.) said Thursday he doesn't think the leadership election to replace Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanOn The Trail: Retirements offer window into House Democratic mood Stopping the next insurrection Former Sen. Bob Dole dies at 98 MORE (R-Wis.) will be moved up from its current date in late November, following the midterms.

"I don't think they would do anything like that," McCarthy told The Hill.

House Majority Whip Steve ScaliseStephen (Steve) Joseph ScaliseSupreme Court handcuffs Biden on vaccinations House GOP campaign arm rakes in 0M in 2021 House Republicans call for oversight into Biden's 'failed' COVID-19 response MORE (R-La.), another potential successor to Ryan, said he's unsure whether Republicans would consider moving up leadership elections while allowing Ryan to finish out his term in his current role.

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Scalise told reporters he doesn't "have any idea if things are going to change" regarding the timing of the race, but remains committed to working with Ryan on accomplishing the party's goals.

"I have no idea," Scalise said. "Historically, leadership elections have happened right after the election, except in the case when [former Speaker John] BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerDemocrats eager to fill power vacuum after Pelosi exit Stopping the next insurrection Biden, lawmakers mourn Harry Reid MORE [R-Ohio] left, and when [former House Majority Leader Eric] Cantor [R-Va.] left."

Ryan, who announced Wednesday he would not seek reelection, asserted he doesn't plan to give up the Speaker's gavel until his term ends in January.

While GOP lawmakers have largely voiced support for Ryan's decision to remain Speaker until his exit from Congress, a handful of members have quietly expressed concerns that the palace intrigue surrounding leadership races could be a distraction from carrying out their agenda and concentrating on the midterms.

House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark MeadowsMark MeadowsLaura Ingraham 'not saying' if she'd support Trump in 2024 Tucker Carlson extends influence on GOP  Jan. 6 panel asks McCarthy to cooperate MORE (R-N.C.) said he believes it's unlikely the Speaker's race will last seven months as members start to vie for the role, but noted he doesn't think Ryan will be ousted from his position, either.

“I think who the next Speaker will be will certainly be decided before November,” Meadows told reporters Wednesday. “Not in fact, but probably in practicality.”

Rep. Bill FloresWilliam (Bill) Hose FloresThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by the UAE Embassy in Washington, DC - Calls mount to start transition as Biden readies Cabinet picks Hillicon Valley: House votes to condemn QAnon | Americans worried about foreign election interference | DHS confirms request to tap protester phones House approves measure condemning QAnon, but 17 Republicans vote against it MORE (R-Texas) said he thinks holding the election early would be counterproductive ahead of the midterms, even if Ryan stays on as Speaker for the remainder of his tenure.

"I just think then everyone will say, 'Who's Speaker? The Speaker-elect or the current Speaker?'" he told The Hill Thursday.

"Plus, to have a leadership election chews up a fair amount of time that you could spend on legislative activities and we still have a lot to get done and a limited amount of legislative calendar space — we need to work on that."

While speculation over the race has swirled since Ryan's announcement, Scalise told Fox News he would "never run against Kevin [McCarthy] and wouldn’t run against Kevin. He and I are good friends."

Ryan on Thursday signaled his support for McCarthy as his successor, saying he was pleased Scalise had endorsed the No. 2 House Republican to succeed him.

In an appearance on Fox News, Scalise said he would not run against McCarthy but did not offer an endorsement.