Steve Scalise reiterates he won't challenge Kevin McCarthy for House speaker

Struggle to replace Paul Ryan could blow up US Congress budget deal

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan had announced yesterday that he will not run for re-election

"I fully anticipate handing the gavel over to the next Speaker of the House", Ryan told "Meet the Press".

Nearly immediately after House Speaker Paul Ryan announced his retirement Wednesday, speculation over who would replace Ryan at the top of the House GOP kicked into high gear.

"I've never run against Kevin and wouldn't run against Kevin", Scalise said. By leveraging their votes for influence, the group potentially may turn an internal party contest into a public free-for-all.

White House Spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said the President and McCarthy "have a great relationship", but did not say who he wants to fill the role. Now McCarthy needs to work hard to win over the House Freedom Caucus, the most conservative faction among House Republicans, numbering 40 members.

Ryan said he wished to spend more time with his family in Janesville, Wis. Nancy Pelosi (D-California), the House Minority Leader gave kind words for Ryan as well "Despite our differences, I commend his steadfast commitment to our country".

Right now, the race is between Scalise and McCarthy (with McCarthy poised to come out on top), but there's a possibility we could be talking about a whole other set of players after November 6, 2018.

Republicans face hard election season in which President Donald Trump's unpopularity and a wave of Democratic enthusiasm are expected to cost the GOP House seats. Ryan is one of many high profile Republicans to retire, including Trey Gowdy, Jason Chaffetz, and Darrell Issa.

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.

Jordan is "a nice guy, but the Freedom Caucus has been the main source of our problems", King said.

"I think who the next Speaker will be, will certainly be decided before November", stated Meadows.

Many Republicans see maintaining control of the House as their biggest concern, a goal that could be more hard amid an intraparty fight.

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