House Speaker Paul Ryan threw his weight behind Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) as a replacement for when he retires from his position in January.
The Wisconsin Republican told NBC Friday that “Kevin’s the right guy to step up.” Although, it’s unclear how much Ryan’s endorsement would boost McCarthy’s prospects.
The Majority Leader jockeyed to replace former Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) in 2015 but abruptly bowed out of the race, citing a potential lack of support from the party at the time, particularly from the conservative Freedom Caucus.
And Rep. John Garamendi (D-CA) thinks that even with Ryan’s backing this time, McCarthy may get a little déjà vu.
“Given the extraordinary fracture that exists in the Republican caucus between the more normal Republicans and the Freedom Caucus, it’s nearly an impossible task,” Gramendi told Cheddar Friday.
Additionally, half of the district that McCarthy represents relies on Medicaid, which is something the GOP wants to cut. Taking the party position as Speaker could damage McCarthy’s standing with his constituents, said Garamendi.
Ryan announced earlier this week he would not seek re-election, leaving the Republican party scrambling to find a replacement. Other potential candidates for Speaker include Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA), who was shot at a congressional baseball practice last year, and Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), who heads the Freedom Caucus.
But that’s only part of the party’s problem. Ryan’s retirement also suggests that the GOP could find it tough to hold onto its majority in the House at the midterm elections.
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