April 12, 2018
Facing a tough Democratic rival in his home Congressional District in Wisconsin, as well as accusations in nation’s capital of favoring tawdry politics over patriotism, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan announced on April 11 that he would retire at the end of this year and not seek reelection.
An internal poll of 400 likely voters conducted in December by the Democratic candidate for Ryan’s seat, Randy Bryce—the ironworker who blasted onto the national political scene in June with a viral video—found that the newcomer trailed by just 6 points in Wisconsin’s 1st Congressional District, 46% to 40%, Politico reported.
Ryan has represented the 1st district since 1999, winning reelection handily each time he’s been on the ballot—but, in 2016, he failed to win his hometown of Janesville.
Cathy Myers, a former teacher and school board member who is facing off with Bryce for the Democratic slot, told Vogue this week,” The reality on the ground is, he was running scared. I think that he knew he was going to have a huge battle ahead of him, and that the momentum is on our side. He knew that people felt unserved and that they were tired of it. He’s getting out while the getting is good.”
However Ryan and his aides put out statements that he had “had a good run,” in his 20 years in Congress and had accomplished a lot, and that now he wanted to spend time with his family.
“After nearly twenty years in the House, the speaker is proud of all that has been accomplished and is ready to devote more of his time to being a husband and a father,” said Brendan Buck, counselor to Speaker Ryan, in a statement that ran in Politico. “While he did not seek the position, he told his colleagues that serving as speaker has been the professional honor of his life, and he thanked them for the trust they placed in him.”
President Trump, who has had a complicated relationship with the Speaker, tweeted that Ryan “is a truly good man” adding, “he will leave a legacy of achievement that nobody can question.”
Another spokesperson for Ryan commented that he’s going to “run through the finish line” and remain as Speaker for now. However, Representative Mark Meadows (R-11th District-North Carolina) the leader of the conservative Freedom Caucus, suggested it might not be realistic for Ryan to remain in the top leadership position, noting the race to succeed him will begin “immediately.”
“They won’t wait for nine months,” Meadows told reporters.
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