Breaking news this Friday afternoon as we’re learning that outgoing Speaker of the House Paul Ryan just named his preferred successor.

Earlier this week, upon the announcement of Ryan’s retirement, we speculated that there were at least two frontrunners for the job of Speaker of the House: Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Majority Whip Steve Scalise.

It looks like Ryan made the choice easy with his endorsement: Kevin McCarthy!

Axios just broke the story:

House Speaker Paul Ryan told NBC’s Chuck Todd that Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy should replace him as the GOP leader when he retires.

This endorsement comes as a surprise because it was widely assumed that Ryan favored Scalise. Now, Ryan’s endorsement would all but ensure that McCarthy takes over after Ryan’s departure. There’s only one issue. Earlier today we learned that an ardent conservative in the House of Representatives may run for the speakership.

Jim Jordan, the former chair of the House Freedom Caucus, is mulling a run for the speakership. If he runs, he’ll have the backing of many conservative members and outside advocacy groups.

The Washington Post reported:

Rep. Jim Jordan, a prominent and polarizing conservative leader, said Friday he is strongly considering a run for House speaker in a bid that could upend the race to succeed Paul D. Ryan.

“There is no speaker’s race right now. Paul Ryan is the speaker,” said Jordan (R-Ohio). “If and when there is, I’ve been urged by colleagues to consider that and I am definitely open to that. Right now though the focus has got to be on the next six months, us keeping the majority.”

Jordan, 54, is a former champion college wrestler who co-founded the House Freedom Caucus, a hard-line faction of about three dozen conservative lawmakers that could play a kingmaker role in any leadership race to come. Its members have been highly critical of the GOP leadership, especially after last month’s vote to pass a $1.3 trillion omnibus spending bill.

If Jordan decides to run, it’ll be him versus McCarthy, who is an establishment Republican. Let’s hope GOP members get a choice for their next leader, instead of an echo.

Are you surprised by Ryan’s endorsement? Tell us your thoughts below!