We had reported back in December that Speaker Paul Ryan may be nearing retirement in the House. Today that news has been nearly confirmed with reports that Ryan will not seek reelection to his current seat, but will not leave the House until after his successor has been chosen in 2018. The deadline is nearing for Wisconsin Republicans to get on the ballot for a primary, and time is of the essence as Democrats have been mobilizing to defeat Ryan and win back the seat in a favorable 2018 environment.
Business Insider reports on the developments:
House Speaker Paul Ryan is nearing an announcement that he will not run for reelection, according to multiple reports.
Axios’ Jonathan Swan reported Wednesday that the Wisconsin Republican has been telling confidants that he will not run again. Axios said that Ryan has told friends that after passing tax reform and with a tough midterm landscape ahead, now is the right time to step away.
Ryan has long pushed for a major overhaul of the tax code, a goal the GOP accomplished in December. Following the passage of the massive tax reform bill, rumors began swirling that Ryan may not run again. According to reports, Ryan will serve out his full term and will inform fellow Republicans on Wednesday during a meeting of the GOP conference.
The move also comes as a slew of Republican House members, including many committe chairmen, announced retirements in anticipation of a tough 2018 midterm season for the GOP.
As soon as Ryan makes it official, the race for the next Speaker of the House will begin with two candidates eyeing the prize:
If Ryan does in fact decide against seeking reelection, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy and House Majority Whip Steve Scalise could seek the House Speaker job, with McCarthy as the favorite.
Actually, to say that the insider campaign to replace Ryan hasn’t already started would be incorrect. There have been rumors for weeks about Rep. Steve Scalise positioning himself to run for Speaker, as well as Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy also angling to take the Speakership. McCarthy probably has the best shot right now, but anything can happen with these types of leadership positions.
Ryan likely saw an uphill battle before Republicans in 2018. In fact, Ryan himself was in for a tough race and he may have decided that enough is enough, let someone else fight the battle. Underneath all this, deep down in places Ryan doesn’t like to talk about at parties, is probably a disdain for Donald Trump and the sheer amount of difficulty Republicans have faced since the 2016 election. With that, Ryan will bid adieu and ride off into the Wisconsin sunset.
This move will put Ryan’s seat, Wisconsin’s 1st Congressional District, into toss-up territory, if not a slight lean for a Democratic pickup.
Here is video of Paul Ryan announcing his retirement at a press conference moments ago:
That didn’t take long. Cook Political Report has moved Ryan’s seat from “Solid Republican” to “Lean Republican” based on his retirement news. Professor Larry Sabato, of the University of Virginia, moved the seat from “likely Republican” to “toss-up,” indicating how popular Ryan was in his home district. Republicans will basically start from square one, though it’s assumed Ryan may endorse whichever Republican wins the primary to replace him.