On the heels of House Speaker Paul Ryan’s announcement that he will not seek re-election, Republicans and Democrats are scrambling.
In Ryan’s home state of Wisconsin, the GOP is tasked with throwing a viable candidate against Democrat Cathy Myers. The left’s primary front-runner garnered immediate political donations after Ryan’s announcement. Once considered a long-shot, Ryan’s exit has leveled the playing field.
In Washington, D.C., a complex power struggle was set in motion over who would replace Ryan in the top House leadership position. Unlike head-to-head elections, gaining the speakership will entail making deals, calling in favors, arm twisting and convincing enough members that they are best suited to become a face of the party.
These are the likely and not-so-likely Washington-insiders that could seize the speakership.
GOP Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy
Considered one of the hardest working members of Congress, the California Republican made a bid for the speakership in 2015 after the surprise retirement of John Boehner. The party was dominated by hard-line conservatives at the time. Although many viewed him as a good fit for the leadership role, far-right party members believed he would not get the roll call votes on the House floor. Fearing a dark horse Democrat could win the day, Paul Ryan emerged as a sure thing for Republicans.
Given the current political polarization, McCarthy’s vote-getting is far more likely to run strictly along party lines, and the 11-year Washington veteran with nine years in leadership positions appears to be the likely replacement for Paul Ryan. That, of course, depends on the GOP staying in the majority after the mid-terms.
GOP Majority Whip Steve Scalise
A Republican darling, the Louisiana rep. has been a top donation-getter for the party and an effective Whip. The House has breezed through the passage of GOP-backed legislation and the 52-year-old has developed a strong working relationship with Pres. Trump.
He gained national recognition after being critically wounded by a radical leftist gunman at a party baseball game. After six terms in the House, Scalise has earned party loyalty and has made waves about higher aspirations. Although he reportedly indicated he may not challenge McCarty, he has left that door open, under the right circumstances.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi
Ranked among the most polarizing figures in Washington today, the once-revered Congresswoman has fallen from grace even within her own party. Her pressure to adopt “resist” and “obstruct” political tactics continues to pull the DNC to the extreme left and mirror her extraordinarily liberal San Francisco base. So divisive has the former House speaker become that centrist Democrats are actually running against her policy positions — and winning.
That being said, Pelosi remains an unmistakable power broker in Washington, D.C. When people talk about draining the swamp, Pelosi is that swamp. She rules over House Democrats because she brings in large donations to a party that teetered on bankruptcy during the past 2-3 years. In Washington, money talks and Pelosi holds significant purse strings. If Dems regain control of the House in the mid-terms, as predicted, America should brace itself for new heights of political hostility with Pelosi holding the gavel.
House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer
Political pundits have bandied Hoyer’s name around as a logical Democrat for the speakership should the midterms swing in that direction. He’s been a loyal, veteran Democrat and Pelosi’s second for many years.
On paper, that all makes sense. But, politics is a blood sport, and Hoyer understands that the ever-ambitious Pelosi is likely to make a run at the top spot again. Butting heads could have disastrous consequences for him, win or lose. It’s highly unlikely he’ll toss his hat in the ring against Pelosi.
The 56-year-old New Yorker has already been making waves as 78-year-old Pelosi’s possible successor. He’s been a solid donation-getter for national Democrats, and more likely to go head-to-head with Pelosi should the left retake the House.
After 10 consecutive terms in the House, he’s earned enough political clout to challenge Pelosi. Given New York won’t be a swing state anytime soon, he has far more to gain than lose in a run at leadership. Crowley has what pugilists call a “puncher’s chance” at the win.
The last change in speakership saw the unlikely Paul Ryan rise to the post, and party heads could look past some of the better-known brands. Other choices could include:
North Carolina Republican Mark Meadows: Currently the chair of the stubbornly far-right House Freedom Caucus, some see him as a natural extension of Pres. Trump’s America First and Conservative fiscal policies.
Ohio Democrat Tim Ryan: Having already gone up against Pelosi in 2016 for leadership, he has been pressing his case that Democrats are disconnected from the heartland. If the power shift is close after the mid-terms, his argument could carry the day.
~ Conservative Zone