(UPDATED) LaMalfa: I’ll support Kevin McCarthy for Speaker | TheUnion.com

(UPDATED) LaMalfa: I’ll support Kevin McCarthy for Speaker

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of Calif., right, arrives for a House Republican Conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2015. McCarthy is assuring Republicans he can bring them together, even as emboldened conservatives maneuver to yank their party to the right in the wake of the leader of the U.S. House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner's sudden resignation. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Congressman Doug LaMalfa used to share early morning meals with Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy when they both served in the California Assembly.

They’d traipse over to a restaurant after a late vote, enjoying a meal after a grueling day.

“We were always hanging out,” LaMalfa said of McCarthy, who this week announced his intention to become the next Speaker of the House. “We actually ended up sharing a house together.”

That was some 10 years ago, when both men worked in the California Capitol. Now serving in Congress with McCarthy, LaMalfa said he’ll support his former housemate for the Speakership.

“I know he’ll do well at it just because of his ability to talk to people,” said LaMalfa, who represents California’s 1st District. “It just comes naturally.”

The Speaker’s position will open at the end of next month when U.S. Rep. John Boehner retires. Boehner surprised political circles last week when he announced his departure.

Two people have since formally announced their intention to run for Boehner’s spot — McCarthy and Rep. Daniel Webster, of Florida.

The Speaker is one of the most powerful figures in Washington and is second in line to the presidency.

McCarthy will excel at the job because of his ability to build relationships, LaMalfa said.

In their State Assembly days, the men would host bipartisan barbecues at their home.

“It was really a good team-building thing,” LaMalfa added. “That’s important. I think that’s why he’s going to be successful in this.”

Boehner’s announced departure comes after years of struggles with right-wing members of his party.

LaMalfa said inter-party struggles over the Speakership could lead to chaos, noting that infighting accomplishes nothing. He anticipates a vote on the next Speaker in a week to a month.

Boehner’s departure, and McCarthy’s potential rise to the position, would open up the Majority Leader spot and potentially others, depending on who gets picked to fill the newly opened slots. LaMalfa said he hasn’t made a decision on those jobs.

“There’s ripple effects to all of it,” he said.

To contact Staff Writer Alan Riquelmy, email ariquelmy@theunion.com or call 530-477-4239.

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