Published: Mon, April 16, 2018
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Ryan retirement roils GOP, opens speaker seat

Ryan retirement roils GOP, opens speaker seat

Most Republicans said they were surprised by the timing of Ryan's announcement, but not that he was planning to leave. Ryan had to navigate the waters of a party that was not only fighting from within, but that was hijacked by a president whose erratic behavior has never been helpful. "We have accomplished so much at the state level and I look forward to ensuring Wisconsin continues down that path. Unemployment is at an all-time low, the tax burden is the lowest it has been in decades, and our schools remain strong. He represents a different direction for the party, but also he is a whirlwind of a president and unpredictable", says Matthew Green, an expert on the speakership at Catholic University in Washington.

Over his two and a half year tenure, Ryan has vacillated between a leader with grandiose, seemingly concrete personal and political beliefs, and a politician lacking a backbone, the conviction to successfully craft and defend policy and the stomach to stand up to a president who has been anything but easy to work alongside.

Equally important might be who the party chooses as its new leader in the House.

His departure likely will lead to a battle to replace him as House Speaker.

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"Speaker Ryan has done an incredible job during his time in Congress", August said in a statement.

Costello, Mast and most other Republicans stuck to their message in the hallways of Congress Wednesday morning, but speaking on background and away from cameras, many GOP lawmakers expressed concerns.

Another factor, Ryan said, was that he has gotten much of what he wanted done.

Ryan, who has had a hard relationship with Trump, thanked the president for giving him the chance to move the GOP ahead. He has hauled in $54 million so far this election cycle. Friends say he will bide his time and see whether the political climate and party change. "Donors who are committed to making sure Republicans hold onto the majority will do whatever they have to do to make that happen", he said.

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Some potential Republican contenders for his seat include Wisconsin state Assembly Speaker Ryan Vos and Bryan Steil, a member of the Board of Regents, according to Wisconsin Republican sources.

Ryan was listed as a Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee target in 2018, and the DCCC added ironworker Randy Bryce to its "Red to Blue" program for promising candidates, which provides additional committee support. He had almost $2.3 million in the bank at the end of the first quarter. Janesville teacher Cathy Myers has also been running on the Democratic side.

Before Wednesday, it was widely assumed among some Ryan confidants that to preserve his standing and to raise lots of money for embattled House Republicans, he'd run for another term, then win and retire.

Information for this article was contributed by Lisa Mascaro, Catherine Lucey, Alan Fram, Kevin Freking, Andrew Taylor, Scott Bauer, Steve Karnowski and Bill Barrow of The Associated Press and by Jonathan Martin and Nicholas Fandos of The New York Times.

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