Nancy Pelosi and Kevin McCarthy
Nancy Pelosi and Kevin McCarthy. File photos

House Speaker Paul Ryan‘s decision not to seek re-election could result in California politicians leading both parties’ Congressional delegations in 2019 — and perhaps sooner.

Rep. Kevin McCarthy, who represents Bakersfield and a large swath of the Central Valley, is favored to become the new speaker, even though he may face a challenge from a Tea Party conservative.

And on the Democratic side, Rep. Nancy Pelosi from San Francisco remains the minority leader and could be elected House Speaker in 2019 if Democrats sweep the midterm elections.

Ryan on Friday officially endorsed McCarthy to succeed him as Speaker.

“I think we all believe that Kevin is the right person,” the Wisconsin Republican said in an interview with NBC set to air Sunday. “I think Kevin’s the right guy to step up.”

McCarthy has emerged as a favorite of President Trump, and his chief mainstream opponent would be Louisiana Republican Steve Scalise, who has said he won’t run against McCarthy. However, a challenger from the Tea Party right wing of the Republican Party is possible.

A change in leadership could happen sometime this year, even though Ryan opposes an early vote as a “distraction” to Republicans.

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Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.