Who will replace House Speaker Paul Ryan?

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House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., center left, and House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., center right, arrive for the House Republican Conference meeting in the basement of the Capitol on Wednesday.

Fox host Brian Kilmeade asked Scalise if he anxious about the message it sent to the party over whether Paul's prospective retirement showed there was pessimism about keeping the majority.

Neither Scalise nor McCarthy would acknowledge a race for Ryan's job or definitively deny it. Scalise said it's not "time to talk about what titles people want", while McCarthy said, "There is no leadership election".

"I've never run against Kevin, and wouldn't run against Kevin", the Louisiana Republican said Thursday morning on Fox News.

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Scalise previously told Politico he's interested in being speaker someday, and he is broadly popular among his colleagues.

Collins said if Scalise, now No. 3 in the GOP House leadership, were to ascend to the House Speaker's position, Louisiana would benefit.

On some level, I suppose it makes sense that Republicans would want to head into the elections in November with the question of who their next leader will be in the wake of Ryan.

As recently as this week, the Majority Leader's office was working with the White House on a proposed package of spending cuts, in an indication of the California Republican's influence and close ties within the Trump White House. "It shows that we have an intact leadership team that supports each other, that's all heading in the right direction".

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If Ryan has his way, he'll retain the speaker's gavel until the end of the 115th Congress, capping 20 years in Congress. All the analysts are saying you're going to have a blue wave.

Scalise wouldn't confirm the reports about Ryan's pending announcement he would not seek re-election, calling him a "good friend". That fear seemed at least partially realized when Rep. Dennis Ross (R-FL) said that he too would be retiring from Congress minutes after the Ryan news broke.

"Well, hopefully we won't have to have that conversation until after the election", Dent said. That relationship could help him argue to fellow Republicans that he is in the best position to advance the White House agenda on Capitol Hill.

In 2015, Freedom Caucus members also said they were open to considering McCarthy at first, but ultimately rejected him for Rep. Daniel Webster, R-Fla., who had little chance of winning.

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Whether the party was united or not, Ryan's announcement could not have been more ill-timed, coming just months before a contentious midterm election that may wipe out the Republican majority in the House. "It is obviously in our interest to keeping our majority that every player is on the field fighting for this majority, raising for this majority and it makes no sense to take the biggest fundraiser off the field and I think nearly all our members see it that way as well".

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