After House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy suddenly dropped out of the race to replace John Boehner as House speaker, speculation immediately began on who would now emerge.
Here are 7 potential candidates on the radar as Speakers-in-waiting or future candidates for the top job.
1. REP. TOM PRICE, R-Ga.
Price was one of the two Republicans vying to succeed McCarthy as majority leader. He had gotten a major boost toward that opening with the endorsements of House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin and House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling of Texas. A physician and former state legislator from Georgia, Price is considered one of his party's best spokesmen on health care. He earned high marks on the right as chairman of House GOP Study Committee and Policy Committee and now as Budget Committee chairman. More than a few conservatives privately say that they could have lived with McCarthy as speaker if swashbuckling conservative and tea party favorite Price is next in line in the GOP hierarchy. Could that mean Price slides right to the top?
2. REP. PAUL RYAN, R-Wis.
Best known as his party's 2012 vice presidential nominee, Ways and Means Committee Chairman Ryan removed himself from consideration for speaker or any leadership position almost immediately after Boehner's bombshell announcement he was leaving. Universally regarded as one of the best and brightest Republican spokesmen on tax and budget issues, Ryan even gets applause from House Democrats and the Obama White House for his work with then-Senate Budget Committee Chairman Patty Murray, D-Wash., on the two-year, bipartisan budget of 2013. Ryan-watchers usually wager that once he is termed out as chairman of the tax-writing Ways and Means panel in '17, the Badger State lawmaker will reconsider his avoidance of leadership offices in the House.
3. REP. JIM JORDAN, R-Ohio
Jordan was a stalwart conservative legislator in Ohio and won high marks from conservatives as Republican Study Committee chairman. Even after leaving, he takes a regular role in monthly "Conversations with Conservatives" meetings for press and has been a leader on defunding Planned Parenthood and Ex-Im Bank. The Buckeye State lawmaker reportedly considered and then rejected pleas from allies on the right to run for speaker when Boehner said he was leaving.
4. REP. CATHY McMORRIS RODGERS, R-Wash.
A strong Christian and mother of three from Washington State, "CMR," as she is known, rose from legislative staffer to state representative to state House Minority Leader and then went to Congress from Spokane in 2002. In 2011, she led the fight to rescind extra funding of International Monetary Fund and is now Number Four in the House GOP hierarchy as Conference Chairman. In that slot, she has emphasized marketing of candidates and teaching social media to colleagues. In 2013, she was widely praised for delivering the Republican response to President Obama' State of the Union address. The only woman in leadership among House Republicans, the Evergreen State lawmaker briefly considered but decided against a bid to succeed McCarthy as majority leader.
5. REP. DAN WEBSTER, R-Fla.
Webster emerged as leader of conservative insurgents in the race for Speaker and wants to reform process (including how appropriations bills are dealt with) "so people aren't rushing to finish at end of session." The longest-serving member of the Florida legislature in history (28 years) and first Republican speaker since Reconstruction, Webster likes to recall how he turned his legislature's low approval ratings "right side up" and worked with the late Democratic Gov. Lawton Chiles. After receiving 12 votes against Boehner for speaker in January, the Floridian was removed from the Rules Committee.
6. REP. PETE ROSKAM, R-Ill.
Roskam, an Illinois legislator and handpicked successor to late conservative Rep. Henry Hyde, on whose staff he once worked, was chief deputy whip, but lost a bid for the No. Three office of Whip to Louisiana's Scalise in January. Most recently, Roskam has been in the forefront of the investigations of abuse by the IRS and is presently making his second bid for the Whip's job.
7. REP. RAUL LABRADOR, R-Idaho
Now in his third term, former state legislator Labrador is best-known for his work on immigration issues. A sharp critic of Boehner and other House leaders, he made a long-short challenge to McCarthy for Leader last year when then-Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia quit Congress after losing renomination. If elected to any leadership position, Labrador would be the first GOP House leader of Puerto Rican heritage and the first Mormon to be in leadership.
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