House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI), (center), speaks to the media while flanked by House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), (right), and House Majority Whip, Steve Scalise (R-LA) (left), after a meeting with House Republicans on Capitol Hill, on March 6, 2018 in Washington, DC.
Kevin McCarthy previously ran for House Speaker against Paul Ryan in 2015.
"As whip Scalise has said publicly for weeks, he will not challenge leader McCarthy should he choose to seek the speaker's gavel".
Kevin McCarthy to take the top spot in the House when Ryan retires in November. In a statement, he said Republicans were "looking at other tools to cut spending" and added: "We have nothing to lose by making big changes". Other potential candidates for Speaker include Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA), who was shot at a congressional baseball practice a year ago, and Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), who heads the Freedom Caucus.
In the current House, which has 237 Republicans, the Freedom caucus sways enough votes to keep any candidate from getting a majority vote needed to ascend to House Speaker should Ryan step down before his term is up in January.
Still, Ryan argued he was envisioning this speaker's race would be "a more seamless transition" than the race in 2015 that led to members of the GOP conference having to draft Ryan after McCarthy stepped aside.
Since reluctantly taking the Speaker's gavel in October 2015 Ryan has struggled to unite different factions of the Republican party.
If Democrats gain seats as expected in the November elections, Republican losses likely will fall most heavily among moderates representing swing districts. Some conservative House members were unhappy with him. "Jim has the right to run, Freedom Caucus has a role to play in the party, I just think that they've overplayed their hand".
McCarthy suggested in 2015 that a House committee probing the deadly 2012 raid on the US embassy in Benghazi, Libya, had damaged Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton's poll numbers, undermining GOP arguments that the investigation wasn't politically motivated.