UPDATE: Paul Ryan held a press conference on Wednesday morning to announce that he won’t seek re-election this fall, confirming reports on the matter. He said that he’s doing so to spend more time with his family, and added that he does not plan to step down from his position as House Speaker between now and January when he leaves Congress.
House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) reportedly won’t seek re-election and plans to soon declare his retirement from Congress. That somewhat shocking bit of news arrives courtesy of Axios, which relays how Ryan has “told confidants” that the announcement is on the way, for he has no desire to reclaim his seat during November’s midterms.
Over the past year, Ryan’s greatest hits included bragging about a secretary’s $1.50 weekly pay increase, thanks to the GOP tax cuts. He also famously said he’s been “dreaming” of slashing Medicaid since he was a frat boy, but it looks like Ryan shall dream no more of spearheading such policies. In stepping away, however, Ryan places the Republican party in an even more precarious position for holding onto their narrow majorities in both the House and Senate. Axios quotes an anonymous yet “best-wired” Republican on the subject:
“This is a Titanic, tectonic shift … This is going to make every Republican donor believe the House can’t be held.” The announcement will help Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) in his fundraising because “the Senate becomes the last bastion,” the Republican said.
Indeed, the GOP has plenty to fear after talk of a blue wave, which may have been evidenced by Democrat Conor Lamb’s recent astonishing upset in a heavy Republican congressional district in Pennsylvania. Roy Moore also recently lost his Senate bid in deep-red Alabama, and even Ted Cruz is a little bit nervous about his rival. Texas is probably safe from a blue wave, but Democrats are picking up unanticipated state seats across the country, so a lot could happen between now and November. And Ryan’s departure makes the situation even more dramatic.
Per Politico’s Rachel Bade, Ryan called House GOP leadership this morning to explain his decision. In doing so, he apparently said that “he felt in his heart he needed to be with his kids.”