Paul Ryan endorses Kevin McCarthy as next speaker

Paul Ryan Backing Kevin McCarthy as House Speaker

During an interview Friday, Ryan endorsed Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy as his successor.

McCarthy, 53, has served in the House since 2007 and has occupied the number-two spot since 2014. By leveraging their votes for influence, the group potentially may turn an internal party contest into a public free-for-all. In a statement, he said Republicans were "looking at other tools to cut spending" and added: "We have nothing to lose by making big changes".

"It's about principles first".

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

In 2015, McCarthy sought to succeed Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, who'd alienated conservatives who considered him insufficiently doctrinaire.

Neither McCarthy nor Scalise has announced he will run for speaker.

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

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If Democrats gain seats as expected in the November elections, Republican losses likely will fall most heavily among moderates representing swing districts.

Ryan told NBC he will support the Republican Representative from California. That may be good news for McCarthy because he is close to Trump - as is House Freedom Caucus Chair Mark Meadows, a conservative from North Carolina.

McCarthy suggested in 2015 that a House committee probing the deadly 2012 raid on the US embassy in Benghazi, Libya, had damaged Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton's poll numbers, undermining GOP arguments that the investigation wasn't politically motivated.

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

"I think what we want to do is focus on getting our jobs done, what we want to do is focus on executing our agenda, focus on fighting for our majority, and all these other things would be needless distractions from the task at hand", Ryan said.

The introduction of a potential third candidacy could make the post-election closed-door vote for Republican party leader - either in late November or early December - more complicated.

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