McCarthy faces persistent doubts from the GOP’s hard-right, who want more influence in the party leadership, if not a leadership spot of their own. And they are hardly eager to pave the way for his ascension to the speakership.

Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) — the House Freedom Caucus chairman who has frequently fomented drama in the GOP leadership ranks, to the point of sparking the resignation of former speaker John A. Boehner — sought instead Tuesday to tamp it down. “It’s reporter rhetoric,” he said of Ryan’s potential early exit. “It is not based on facts.”

Rep. Warren Davidson (R-Ohio), a Freedom Caucus member, told reporters Tuesday that it was “premature” to have leadership elections when dozens of new Republicans could be elected in November. Many conservatives, in the House and outside it, are promoting Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), a co-founder of the Freedom Caucus, as an alternative to McCarthy.