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Rep. John Kline in running to be speaker, but says he supports Paul Ryan

WASHINGTON -- Outgoing Republican Rep. John Kline is in discussions with GOP leadership to run for speaker -- only if former vice presidential candidate Rep. Paul Ryan declines to run.

Kline, who announced in September he wasn't seeking another term in the U.S. House of Representatives, would serve as an interim speaker through the rest of this Congress, which wraps up at the end of next year.

Kline is known to be a very close friend of current House Speaker John Boehner, who announced he planned to leave Congress at the end of October. Kline serves in GOP leadership and is chairman of the House Education and Workforce Committee.

The two are known for late night talks in their offices over cigars, for Kline, and cigarettes, for Boehner.

Kline declined interviews Friday, but his spokesman Troy Young said Kline is actively urging Ryan to go for the speaker's job.

"Mr. Kline has been and continues to urge Paul Ryan to be the next speaker," Young said.

Ryan has insisted all week that he isn't interested in the job, but canceled all fundraisers and other events today and this weekend to think about it and talk to colleagues. Late Friday morning, he indicated that he was "considering" a run, according to several news reports.

GOP Rep. Erik Paulsen's spokesman Drew Griffin confirmed Friday that Paulsen, too, was supporting Ryan.

"The congressman thinks that Chairman Ryan has the talent to be an excellent speaker," he said.

Republican Rep. Tom Emmer did not comment about his thoughts on Ryan Friday.

"Congressman Emmer looks forward to upcoming discussions within the GOP Conference prior to the endorsement of a Speaker who will unify the party and continue the work of the 114th Congress," his spokeswoman Becky Alery said.

Emmer said late Thursday, though, that he was trying to be sanguine about the future of his caucus.

"I don't think you have progress until you have a leader who acts like a leader, who behaves like a leader and says this is what we're going to do," Emmer said. "This person says, this is a new leadership in town and this is how we're going to lead this thing and this is how we're going to do it. We have 13 months."

Minn. Republicans disheartened by leadership shake-up

WASHINGTON -- Minnesota's Republicans said they were disheartened at the reigning chaos at the top of their caucus in the massive leadership shake up Thursday, but that they were optimistic the right leader would emerge within a few weeks.

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy abruptly dropped out of the race to replace outgoing House Speaker John Boehner on Thursday.

Rep. Tom Emmer, a freshman Republican representing the Sixth Congressional District, compared voters' uncertainty about GOP leadership to stockholders nervous about changes at the top of a company.

"You have your voters, your consitutents, people looking for leadership. The more they see this lack of a focus and a direction, it's just like a business, shareholders and investers, get very nervous when business is like that," he said  "They want strong leadership. They want a plan. I think that's what everyone's demanding on the outside and right now this type of thing doesn't help that."

GOP Rep. Erik Paulsen is a close friend of McCarthy and called the shake up disappointing.

"In the grand scheme of things, it's nothing to panic about. We still have a speaker, we still have a leader and we have some big stuff to do in the next few weeks and months ahead," Paulsen said. "It will sort itself out."

Republican Rep. John Kline didn't answer requests for comments or interviews off the House floor Thursday.

But his spokesman Troy Young said in an e-mailed statement, "Congressman Kline is confident House Republicans will select someone who can do what's best for our country and this institution." 

Emmer declined to say whether he supported the House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy for speaker and went into the vote undecided on Thursday. He said he was shocked when McCarthy announced he wasn't running.

"I think it would be easy to slide, to say, this is terrible this is awful, the sky is falling, but that doesn't solve anything," Emmer said.

Emmer joked that a constituent asked him why he doesn't run for speaker -- even though he's only been on Capitol Hill for ten months.

"Clearly this is someone who must not like me very much," he said, laughing..

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