"I think that's encouraging because what it shows you is that we have an intact leadership team that supports each other, that's all heading in the right direction".
The California congressman described by one House Republican aide as "your favorite fraternity brother"-apparently a compliment- was the leading candidate to replace outgoing speaker John Boehner in 2015 before he abruptly withdrew his name from the race, ostensibly because he wanted a "new face" to unite the party and possibly in response to salacious rumors about his personal life, never since proven or disproven, that were meant to torpedo his candidacy".
Ryan did not say where or how Scalise signaled he would not be challenging McCarthy.
"I've never run against Kevin and wouldn't run against Kevin", Scalise said when asked on Fox News Thursday afternoon.
Multiple reports emerged Wednesday that Ryan will announce to Congress he will not seek another term in November.
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He said on Thursday that he would not be departing early, despite some grumblings from Republicans concerned that Ryan's lame-duck status could throw a wrench in fundraising efforts. And while Ryan's current position is one for which legislators of any persuasion would sell at least one of their children, whether his replacement will get to retain the Speaker's gavel or glumly add "House Minority Leader" to their résumé rests entirely on what happens on Election Day.
Collins said if Scalise, now No. 3 in the GOP House leadership, were to ascend to the House Speaker's position, Louisiana would benefit. "I want to stay focused on our job".
If Democrats prevail in the November elections, the job opening will be for minority leader, a much less powerful position. 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.
Ryan was picked by his GOP colleagues in 2015 after McCarthy abruptly withdrew because members of the House Freedom Caucus could have stopped him from getting enough votes. "And they are going to immediately start positioning as this situation develops".
"Certainly, his leaving will create a real vacuum", stated the chairman of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, Representative Mark Meadows (R-N.C.). "In order to have a conversation about who is the next Speaker - we have to be in the majority". Ryan intends to weigh in.