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Rep. Cathy McMorris-Rodgers
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Does Cathy McMorris Rodgers want to replace Paul Ryan?

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers. (Cathy McMorris Rodgers)
LISTEN: Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers

House Speaker Paul Ryan surprised many when he announced he wouldn’t seek re-election this fall, and it’s still not clear who will fill the leadership vacuum.

RELATED: What’s next for House Speaker Paul Ryan?

One outside possibility: Washington’s 5th District Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers.

The member of Congress, who represents a large swath of Eastern Washington, told 770 KTTH’s Jason Rantz that she found out Ryan was leaving D.C. a little earlier than the general public.

“I was personally surprised,” McMorris Rodgers said. “I understand the decision he made. I’m really just grateful for his leadership as Speaker and I’m grateful he’s going to see us through this year.”

Ryan was the 42nd of 43 House Republicans who decided this cycle to either not run for re-election, retire, or run for a different office.

McMorris Rodgers speaks highly of Ryan’s legacy, citing his work on the tax cut, the repeal of the Obamacare individual mandate, and lifting the regulatory burden on businesses.

“He was able to unite us as Republicans in the House,” McMorris Rodgers said, “and really helped lead us to get some important results.”

Whether or not the GOP will still control the speakership depends on their ability to maintain a majority after the 2018 elections. McMorris Rodgers is already one of the highest ranking members in the House as Chair of the House Republican Conference, but she wouldn’t say whether she’d jockey for the speaker position if it was available to her.

“Fortunately, Paul Ryan is remaining until the end of the year,” McMorris Rodgers said. “My number one priority is to continue working hard, getting results for the people of Eastern Washington, keeping our majority. That’s going to be my focus between now and the end of the year.”

Whatever happens, McMorris Rodgers promised there’s no truth to rumors she’s considering retirement.

“Those that are hoping that I’m going to retire or spreading that rumor hoping that I’ll retire are going to be really disappointed because, yes, I am running for reelection,” McMorris Rodgers said. “It’s an honor to represent the people of Eastern Washington.”

Listen to the entire interview here.

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