No one on Capitol Hill was making any predictions Tuesday evening over who House Republicans would select as their choice to be the next speaker of the House.

   But not an hour after Kevin McCarthy’s announcement that he would not run again for Speaker, the jockeying to replace him had been well underway.

   My sources say Majority Leader Steve Scalise, R-La., has been hitting the phones Tuesday night, testing the waters for support.

   Scalise, 57, is a conservative and well-liked.

   But some on the Hill question whether Scalise can handle the arduous job of Speaker, which includes a non-stop travel schedule.

   Just six weeks ago Scalise announced he was seeking treatment for blood cancer.

   Then there’s Majority Whip Tom Emmer, R-Minn., who serves in the House’s third top position.

   My sources say Emmer has told colleagues he would make a bid only if Scalise decides not to.

   Emmer, 61, also has a strong following among fellow Republicans from serving as chair of the National Republican Congressional Committee in 2022.

   But critics say the GOP underperformed in ’22, winning a narrow majority largely from 11 House seats gained in New York, a state Emmer had not targeted.

   One source close to Scalise told me that the Leader and Emmer will reach an agreement before next week on which of them will run for speaker.

   Other names mentioned include House Republican Conference Chair Elise Stefanik as a prospective speaker candidate. A onetime Bush administration official, at 39 she would be the youngest of the contenders.

   But a source close to Stefanik told Newsmax “her name is certainly in the mix but she hasn’t begun any kind of outreach.”

   House Judiciary Committee Chair Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, is also making calls saying he’s interested in the job.

   Popular among the grassroots, House members see Jordan more able to make headlines than get deals done.

   Dark-horse candidates include House Republican Study Committee Chair Kevin Hern, R-Okla., a solid conservative, and veteran California Rep. Darrell Issa, a favorite on the right who doggedly pursued scandal during Barack Obama’s tenure.

   Next Tuesday, under rules spelled out by acting Speaker Patrick McHenry, R-N.C., candidates for speaker will make their case before a closed-door meeting of the House Republican Conference.

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