Elephants Fight To Be Top Bull

For the first time in their three years of serving in leadership together, the interests of Ryan and McCarthy are colliding. Once dubbed the “young guns” (along with since-defeated Eric Cantor), the two were seen as future faces of the Republican Party. When McCarthy couldn’t win the votes to succeed John Boehner as speaker in 2015, McCarthy stepped aside and served as the younger Ryan‘s No. 2, never holding a grudge.

Speakership drama pits McCarthy vs. Ryan

Allies of Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, the current favorite for the job, are upset that Ryan insists on staying through the election. They think the delay can only hurt McCarthy’s chances and might mean a months-long power struggle in the House Republican Conference in the thick of election season.

And then there’s the House Freedom Caucus. The group on Friday sent the majority leader a blunt warning that he doesn’t have the votes as one of the group’s ringleaders, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), floated that he might run for speaker himself. Jordan couldn’t win. But he could deny McCarthy votes from the Freedom Caucus that he can’t become speaker without.

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