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Bill Flores for Speaker of the House? Only If Paul Ryan Doesn't Want It

Last week Flores said House Republicans had to find a leader who can unite its quarreling moderates and right-wingers now that Speaker John Boehner is retiring.
Representative Bill Flores, Republican from Texas, speaks on Thursday, July 16, 2015. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call via Getty)

Another House Republican is tentatively eyeing the job position that no one else wants.

Republican Representative Bill Flores of Texas said he would run for speaker of the house if his colleague Paul Ryan does not, a spokesman for Flores told Reuters on Monday.

"Congressman Flores is planning to run for speaker," Andre Castro said. "However, if Congressman Paul Ryan runs, (Flores) will step aside and support him."

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CBS affiliate KBTX, citing unidentified sources, said Flores emailed his colleagues announcing his intentions and asking for their support today. Flores also told a room of oil and gas executives that he would run for the speakership on Monday, reported the Texas Tribune.

Flores is a conservative businessman who was elected to Congress in 2010 as part of a wave of Tea Party candidates. He is chairman of the largest conservative caucus in the House of Representatives, the 172-member Republican Study Committee (RSC), which is comprised of more than two-thirds of the Republican membership.

Related: Kevin McCarthy Just Dropped Out of the Race for Speaker of the House

Last week, Flores said House Republicans had to find a leader who can unite its quarreling moderates and right-wingers now that Speaker John Boehner is retiring and the presumed front-runner for the post, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, has withdrawn.

"This is an opportunity for the conference to look across the… members that we have and say who is the unifying influential leader that can cast that vision and communicate that vision and help all of us execute that vision," Flores told reporters on Thursday.

Many members of the RSC are also members of the more hardline Freedom Caucus, although Flores is not. The Freedom Caucus has wielded enormous power in recent weeks, after pressuring Boehner to step down and endorsing McCarthy to run instead. But after McCarthy abruptly withdrew from the race last week, the House has been thrown into disarray and it has become increasingly evident that no one else wants the job.

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Paul Ryan, a representative from Wisconsin, quickly emerged as the clear favorite to unite the fractured party. But Ryan seems to have no interest in being speaker and said repeatedly he does not plan on running, despite being urged to do so by many lawmakers and even 2012 presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

Ryan is "Definitely my No. 1 pick," Rep. Peter King from New York, told the Huffington Post.

"He's considered very smart. Very hard-working. Very honest," he said. "He ran for vice president of the United States. So people who attack him, it would look as if they just won't accept anyone."

Related: John Boehner To Step Down as Speaker of the House

As King points out, not all Republicans are endorsing Ryan. The Freedom Caucus picked Representative Daniel Webster, from Florida, last week as their choice to run. Representative Marsha Blackburn from Tenessee and Representative Mike Conaway from Texas are also eyeing the position.

Ryan is reportedly taking the week-long congressional recess to consider running. Flores said he would drop out of the race if Ryan decides to run himself.

Boehner was planning on retiring October 30, but has since postponed the vote and agreed to stay until a new speaker is elected.

The clear lack of Republicans willing to take the reigns prompted one Democratic representative from California to post the job opening for Speaker of the House on Craigslist last week.

"We are seeking an extremely patient and motivated person to lead the U.S. House of Representatives," Rep. Takano's posting read. "Responsibilities include: keeping the government open."

Reuters News Agency contributed to this report. 

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