This morning we learned that Speaker of the House Paul Ryan will soon be announcing his retirement from Congress. With Democrat fervor at an all-time high, and Republicans set to lose a massive number of seats in the November midterm elections, Ryan appears to be turning his tail just as his party is set to lose power. Whoever replaces Ryan isn’t guaranteed to be Speaker anymore.
Axios initially reported that Ryan would make his retirement announcement tomorrow. But House Majority Whip Steve Scalise went on “Fox and Friends” this morning to confirm that Ryan will make his announcement later today:
With Ryan’s retirement confirmed by the man himself, all talk in Washington is now focused on who will be the next Republican leader in the House of Representatives.
Here are the top 5 possible replacements for Paul Ryan:
1. House Majority Whip Steve Scalise – Rep. Scalise is the most likely heir apparent, and it has been rumored for the past few weeks that he is the lawmaker with the best chance of replacing Ryan. Scalise is liked and respected on both sides of the aisle. He’s also a heroic survivor of the shooting spree last spring where a crazed Bernie Sanders supporter attempted to mow down an entire baseball field full of Republicans. During President Trump’s last State of the Union speech, he specifically named Scalise “one of the toughest people ever to serve in this House” to raucous applause.
Pres. Trump praises Rep. Steve Scalise, injured in congressional baseball shooting last summer, as “one of the toughest people ever to serve in this House.”2. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy – Currently the second in command, Rep. McCarthy is reportedly vying with Scalise for the coveted position of House Speaker. Politico reported earlier this week that McCarthy is quietly courting support from rank-and-file members. Back when John Boehner retired from the speakership, McCarthy was heavily favored to replace him, until rumors of an affair derailed his candidacy. Rep. McCarthy is also scheduled to have dinner with President Trump tonight:
3. Rep. Daniel Webster – When John Boehner retired, Rep. Webster, a Florida Republican, was the conservative choice for Speaker. His short-lived campaign didn’t garner many votes, but it showed dissent from the more conservative members of the GOP caucus. Webster reportedly has no plans to run for Speaker of the House again in the near future.
4. Rep. Mike Conaway – The Texas congressman was once seen as a “compromise choice” among the Republican caucus. Politico reported back in 2016 after speculation of Ryan’s departure had reached a fever pitch: “Several senior Republican lawmakers and aides speculate that Conaway, first elected in 2005, could jump into the speaker race if Ryan steps aside and McCarthy doesn’t have the votes to take the gavel or passes.” Conaway not only has the Texas delegation to back his candidacy, but he’s also an accountant, which gives him a reputation for even-handedness.
5. Rep. Jim Jordan – Another conservative darling and former chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, Rep. Jordan has a lot of connections to outside conservative advocacy groups. If Scalise chooses not to run and Webster doesn’t take another stab at it, Jordan would have the instant backing of many influential groups. Jordan’s so outspoken and driven that Politico once referred to him as “the other Speaker of the House.”