Ryan endorses Kevin McCarthy as his successor

House Majority Leader Kevin Mc Carthy speaks next to House Speaker Paul Ryan at a news conference with Republican leaders after

House Speaker Paul Ryan endorsed his second-in-command, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, to succeed him.

Rep. Steve Scalise, the No. 3 in the GOP team, agrees and won't challenge McCarthy for the gavel, Ryan said.

The Wisconsin Republican told NBC's Chuck Todd that "we all think that Kevin is the right person" and predicted a "seamless transition".

"If the way Kevin treats his constituents back home is any indication of how he would perform as a Speaker, I think Paul Ryan could choose better", Tatiana Matta said in a statement.

Ryan ascended to the speakership during a tumultuous moment for House Republicans and was seen as the only person who could get the necessary votes for the job.

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He added, "Well our leadership team, I'm saying".

The Freedom Caucus, which numbers about three dozen House members, has always been critical of McCarthy, even though he's close to President Donald Trump. A member of the hardline conservative House Freedom Caucus, potentially Rep. Jim Jordan of OH, may try to become the GOP leader, complicating matters for McCarthy.

McCarthy has worked to cultivate a positive relationship with Trump, who initially crowed when McCarthy dropped out of the speaker's race in 2015.

Strategists from both parties say that even if McCarthy gets a boost in funds that he can spread out to other California Republicans, it won't make up for lost financial support from Ryan, and the fact that the speaker's retirement might spook GOP donors. For another, Republicans may be jockeying to become the next minority leader, since Democrats now hold a significant polling advantage on generic congressional ballots. Jordan co-founded the House Freedom Caucus and his entry into the race would further scramble the coalitions that McCarthy and Scalise have been building.

Jordan is "a nice guy, but the Freedom Caucus has been the main source of our problems", King said. It also comes as the GOP girds for a tough fight to keep control of the House this year.

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