GOP fight over leadership after November vote to be messy

FILE - In this July 24, 2018 file photo, House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wis., attends a news conference following a GOP caucus meeting on Capitol Hill in

FILE - In this July 24, 2018 file photo, House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wis., attends a news conference following a GOP caucus meeting on Capitol Hill in

FILE - In this Sept. 13, 2018 file photo, House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wis., center, talks with House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of Calif., left, wh

FILE - In this Sept. 13, 2018 file photo, House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wis., center, talks with House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of Calif., left, wh

WASHINGTON (AP) — Win or lose in the race for the majority, House Republicans are at risk of plunging into a messy leadership battle after the November election, with the party lacking a clear heir apparent to take the place of House Speaker Paul Ryan.

President Donald Trump has signaled he'd be happy with next-in-line Kevin McCarthy, the majority leader, a longtime ally whom the president calls "My Kevin." But Trump is also saying kind words about the No. 3 Republican, GOP Whip Steve Scalise, whom he calls the "legend from Louisiana." Scalise survived life-threatening injuries after he was shot at a congressional baseball practice in 2017.

And there's a third lawmaker in the mix: conservative Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio, who is waging a longshot bid to take the gavel.