Struggle to replace Ryan could blow up U.S. budget deal

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House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., endorsed House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy for speaker Friday, a move likely meant to clear the field and make way for his top deputy.

Ryan went on to say: "I fully anticipate handing the gavel over to the next Speaker of the House after this term, and I think Kevin's the right guy to step up".

Representative Jim Jordan, a co-founder of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, whose members have at times clashed with Ryan and other Republican leaders, said he is also open to pursuing the role of speaker.

Ryan's announcement came hours after the former chairman of the House Freedom Caucus Rep. Jim Jordan of OH said he was considering a run.

Kevin McCarthy to take the top spot in the House when Ryan retires in November. "I've never run against Kevin and wouldn't run against Kevin", Scalise told Fox News on Thursday. Now they fear they may have to deal with a House of Representatives leadership struggle when the party should focus on defending its congressional majorities and advancing Trump's agenda.

The Majority Leader jockeyed to replace former Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) in 2015 but abruptly bowed out of the race, citing a potential lack of support from the party at the time, particularly from the conservative Freedom Caucus.

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Ryan said he doesn't want there to be a vote on his successor until after the November election.

Ryan has pledged to remain Speaker until the conclusion of the 115th Congress next January.

"There is no one who can get the 218 votes to be speaker today except Paul Ryan", North Carolina's Mark Meadows, chairman of the Freedom Caucus, said.

"I've never run against Kevin and wouldn't run against Kevin", Scalise said.

Ryan told NBC he will support the Republican Representative from California. With Democrats ahead about 7 points on the most current generic ballot, the 2018 midterms are poised to be a blue wave election year.

By advancing their own candidate, the conservatives may not be counting on winning, but that they would certainly influence the outcome of the race, several members said.

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