McCarthy, Scalise are likely contenders for House speaker

National / World
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House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wis., center, arrives for a meeting of House Republicans on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Dec. 19, 2017. Republicans are ready to ram a $1.5 trillion tax package through Congress, giving President Donald Trump the legislative win he desperately wants. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

WASHINGTON (AP) – California Rep. Kevin McCarthy and Louisiana Rep. Steve Scalise are the likely chief contenders to succeed Paul Ryan as House speaker.

McCarthy, the House majority leader, is known for being a strong fundraiser. Scalise, the majority whip, is viewed as the more conservative of the two.

Ryan announced Wednesday he wouldn’t seek re-election in November, implicitly starting the race to replace him. Disconcertingly for the GOP, President Donald Trump’s unpopularity and early Democratic momentum leave it unclear whether Ryan’s replacement will be speaker or minority leader.

Those close to Scalise say he is unlikely to directly challenge McCarthy, but he doesn’t need to. By offering himself as an alternative, ready in case McCarthy fails to muster support, he is essentially making an indirect bid for the top post.

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