On Wednesday, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin) announced that he will not seek re-election in November 2018. Speaker Ryan’s announcement comes seven months before the midterm elections, and the fight over his replacement will coincide with Republicans’ effort to keep the House majority.
Speaker Ryan’s departure will hurt the party’s effort to hold the House but it will help McConnell’s cause in the Senate which is now considered “the last bastion” for Republican power in Congress.
Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Kern) and Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-Louisiana) have been angling for Speaker Ryan’s job behind the scene for months, and the deciding factor could be President Trump’s endorsement. Representative McCarthy is close with the President and is more likely to receive his formal support, which would lock-down McCarthy’s support from the conservative wing of the House Republican Conference. Representative McCarthy suddenly dropped a bid to replace former Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) in 2015, but he’s already begun to shore up support with conservatives and President Trump in preparation for his next attempt to secure the job.