WASHINGTON — House Speaker Paul Ryan told colleagues Wednesday he will not seek re-election, dealing a blow to Republican efforts to keep the majority of the U.S. House.
“This morning Speaker Ryan shared with his colleagues that this will be his last year as a member of the House,” said Brendan Buck, Ryan’s counselor.
Buck said Ryan will serve out his term, “run through the tape, and then retire in January.”
His retirement announcement leaves a void in Republican leadership as it faces a tough series of elections that will determine whether the GOP can keep control of Congress.
The Wisconsin Republican, in his tenth term as a House member, has only been speaker since 2015, replacing John Boehner.
Democrats hailed Ryan’s retirement as a sign that he knows GOP will take big losses in November, and may well lose the House majority and speakership.
“Stay tuned for more retirements as Republicans increasingly realize that their midterm prospects are doomed,” said Tyler Law, a spokesman for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
Ryan’s announcement is likely to set off a major battle for Republican leadership in the House. Possible replacements include Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., now Ryan’s second-in-command, and Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., now the third-ranking House member.
Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., praising Ryan despite their differences, said replacing him will be difficult: “The job may be made harder because Congressmen Scalise and McCarthy will be competing for the hard-right’s favor, but Speaker Ryan is up to the job.”
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