But people close to Scalise say he’d be interested when Ryan does retire and if Republicans keep the House this fall. He’d make a move, however, only if Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) were not to run or fell short, Scalise’s allies say.

In an interview Tuesday in Louisiana’s southern-most port, Scalise acknowledged his desire to lead the conference someday but said now isn’t the time to discuss it.

“I wouldn’t rule it out,” Scalise said of a bid for speaker if the circumstances were right. “Obviously, I’ve shown interest in the past at moving up. I’ve enjoyed being in leadership. I feel like I’ve had a strong influence on some of the things that we’ve done, and I’ve helped put together coalitions to pass a full repeal of Obamacare.”

He went on to say that he also worked closely with Ryan, McCarthy, and Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady on tax reform. “I want to keep doing this,” Scalise said.