It was the race that wasn’t.
House Majority Whip Steve Scalise on Thursday threw his support behind Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy to succeed Speaker Paul D. Ryan as the House GOP leader.
“I’ve never run against Kevin, and wouldn’t run against Kevin,” the Louisiana Republican said Thursday morning on Fox News.
Scalise’s remark appears to leave some wiggle room, because it assumes McCarthy will run for the slot. If the California Republican doesn’t, Scalise would be a natural person to bid for the position.
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Ryan, who announced Wednesday he wasn’t seeking re-election but would stay on as speaker through the current term, said at a press conference Thursday morning that the majority whip had endorsed McCarthy.
“I was encouraged that Steve Scalise said this morning that he thinks that after the election that Kevin McCarthy ought to be the person to replace me,” the Wisconsin Republican said. “It shows you we have an intact leadership team.”
Ryan said he’s talked to a lot of members who think it’s in House Republicans’ “best interest” to keep the current leadership team through the end of the year.