Will Steve Scalise be the next Speaker of the House?

U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Even before House Speaker Paul Ryan announced that he will not seek reelection, speculation was swirling about Ryan’s replacement.

A popular front runner is U.S. House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, a Metairie Republican and currently the third most powerful U.S. representative.

Scalise released the following statement this morning about Ryan’s decision:

“Paul Ryan stepped into his role as Speaker at a critical moment, and has led our House with great dignity. Under his leadership we have worked with President Trump to pass groundbreaking conservative reforms like the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act that are making life better for the American people. Paul is a deeply principled father and conservative leader, and a great friend. I’m grateful for his leadership and I look forward to working with him through the remainder of his time in the House to advance President Trump’s agenda so we can rebuild our economy and preserve our Republican majority.”

Scalise told Politico that if House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy vies for House Speaker, he will not challenge him.

“I’m not running against Kevin for anything,” Scalise said.

But that doesn’t mean Scalise isn’t interested in becoming House Speaker, and it doesn’t mean he wouldn’t become House Speaker if McCarthy can’t get enough votes, according to Politico.

Scalise was critically injured in June 2017 when he and four others were shot in Alexandria, Virginia. Gunman James Hodgkinson opened fire during practice for the congressional baseball game.

The bullet went through Scalise’ hip and traveled toward his other hip, causing serious damage to bones, internal organs and blood vessels.

He was in critical condition for days and has since undergone several surgeries to manage infections and other complications. He’s come a long way.

If Scalise does become House Speaker, politicians generally agree that would be good for Louisiana, even those on the other side of the aisle.

Scalise has not made an official comment about becoming House Speaker since Ryan announced Wednesday morning that he will not seek reelection.