The Wisconsin Republican cast the decision to end his 20-year career as a personal one, saying he did not want his children growing up with a "weekend dad". Judge Michael Screnock, who was backed by the Republican Party, won the district by 6 points, while loosing by 12 points statewide to the more liberal Judge Rebecca Dallet.
"The kind of board that he would go after would probably pay between $250,000 and $300,000 a year and he could probably get three or four of them", said Fred Foulkes, a professor of at Boston University's Questrom School of Business.
Ryan's seat is among nearly 100 more Republican-held districts that have gained new attention since Democrat Conor Lamb won a special House election in western Pennsylvania last month, in a district Trump won by nearly 20 points.
But even in a contest of Republican lawmakers, a Trump endorsement is a double-edged sword. Others bristle at the idea of presidential meddling in their contest.
Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis. The Senate, in all probability, will still lack the 67 votes to remove Trump from office.
"Paul Ryan chose to quit today rather than face Randy Bryce and the voters".
It's far from clear McCarthy intends to play the same role.
"It's not confidence building", said Ron Nehring, a former party chairman in California, who says Republicans need to boost their legislative accomplishments, especially after having failed to keep their promise to voters to repeal Obamacare, if they hope to motivate Republicans to the polls. The two have not had a close working relationship. Not symbolically. Perhaps in a new role he will have the freedom to speak for himself and to exclusively bear the responsibility of what he says. Trump sometimes calls out "my Kevin" at events. They're starting by targeting 25 GOP-held seats where Democrat Clinton received more votes than Republican President Donald Trump in 2016. Majority Whip Steve Scalise is viewed as the likely alternative, and his team noted Thursday that he, too, had broken first-quarter fundraising records, hauling in $3 million.
Neither man is tethered to strict GOP dogma, which creates space for the deal-making both favor. McCarthy aides said the remark to other GOP leaders was a bad joke. Democrats now control just 49 seats in the chamber, with prospects for only a handful more in the most optimistic election scenarios.
Does he have ideas about who should replace him atop the House Republican conference? Yes.
One of the sharpest criticisms of Ryan - not just from Democrats, but also from some Republicans - is his perceived unwillingness to publicly attack Trump, even when he clearly disagrees on an issue or action, or, as is often the case, a tweet.
In an interview with NBC's "Meet the Press", Ryan says McCarthy is "the right person".
The House has passed countless bills, including regular order in the budgeting process, that all have gone to die on the desk of leader McConell.
The endorsement comes after Ryan stunned Washington this week by announcing he would not seek another term in Congress this fall.
House Speaker Paul Ryan described the message delivered to him by an octogenarian businessman a few months ago as akin to getting hit in the head "with a two-by-four, more or less".
It was unclear what if any efforts were quietly underway to deny that support to McCarthy, but Scalise's remarks clearly left himself as the alternative.