Rumors have swirled for months that Paul Ryan had one hand on the ejection handle. According to Axios, the House Speaker will soon give it a yank and start exploring new opportunities in the private sector. And the Wisconsin GOP will have yet another headache as they turn into what looks like a blue wave in November:
House Speaker Paul Ryan has told confidants that he will announce soon that he won’t run for reelection in November, according to sources with knowledge of the conversations.
Why it matters: House Republicans were already in very tough spot for midterms, with many endangered members and the good chance that Democrats will win the majority.
The Washington Post’s Robert Costa confirmed the report moments later:
— Robert Costa (@costareports) April 11, 2018
As did Jake Sherman at Politico:
— Jake Sherman (@JakeSherman) April 11, 2018
Ryan may be getting out while the getting’s good, but his departure is bad news for his Wisconsin allies in more ways than one. The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reported yesterday that billionaire climate-change activist Tom Steyer plans to drop a lot of his money in Wisconsin to defeat Scott Walker in his re-election bid, and had also intended to go after Ryan. It would have taken a lot of Steyer’s money and time to make an effective bid against Ryan, but now with the seat open, Steyer may have more resources to direct at Walker and other Wisconsin Republicans.
The dread in Wisconsin is only a taste of what it must be on Capitol Hill for Republicans. Ryan is the latest in dozens of retirements, including some senior GOP figures. John Podhoretz aptly captures the moment:
Mood inside Republican House conference RNhttps://t.co/7RkIj3SxQ1
— John Podhoretz (@jpodhoretz) April 11, 2018
The mood has to be glum for another reason: money. Ryan has been a prolific fundraiser, even in a tough cycle for Republicans, and it’s not clear that the GOP has someone who can match his prowess. Sherman noted his success on Monday:
SPEAKER PAUL RYAN raised $11.1 MILLION in the first quarter of 2018, bringing his fundraising total to more than $54 MILLION for the 2018 election cycle. He has also transferred more than $40 MILLION to the NRCC — a goal Ryan world set for the cycle last spring after a spate of special elections. (Ryan reached the $40-million goal seven months before the end of the cycle.) The speaker has held fundraising events in 30 states and more than 70 cities. Ryan also raises piles of money for American Action Network/Congressional Leadership Fund, the outside groups designed to bolster and protect House Republicans. Also: Ryan’s re-election campaign will report $10.5 MILLION cash on hand. Randy Bryce, the Democrat running against Ryan, has $2.6 million on hand.
That will give Ryan a lot of leverage in choosing his successor, both in his home district and as party leader. But the latter might not make much of a contest if Republicans lose the House majority, which seems increasingly likely. That’s one reason Ryan is “done with Congress,” but Jonathan Swan suggests other reasons too:
Friends say that after Ryan passed tax reform, his longtime dream, he was ready to step out of a job that has become endlessly frustrating, in part because of President Trump.
The constant infighting within his caucus can’t have made Ryan terribly excited to stay in a job he took reluctantly in the first place. One has to wonder whether Ryan would have ended his Congressional career if he’d been allowed to just stick with the Budget chair job he really wanted.
Update: Hard to argue with this:
Ryan rose to prominence as one of the most articulate advocates of fiscal responsibility in his party. His career ends with Republicans proving beyond all doubt that they were never really serious about it. https://t.co/RlmXVImSDC
— John Hayward (@Doc_0) April 11, 2018
Also, NPR’s sources say Ryan will not leave before the election.
Update: My friend Myra Adams was right. She warned Townhall readers that an “after Easter bombshell” would be coming from Ryan:
According to a frontline GOP strategist (name asked to be withheld) “after Easter” is when House Speaker Paul Ryan will announce his decision whether or not to run for reelection in Wisconsin’s 1st congressional district. Speaker Ryan, age 48, has represented his home district since winning the seat in 1998 at age 28.
Ryan’s 2018 reelection decision is imminent given Wisconsin’s filing deadline of June 1 with an August 14 primary. Thus, April is the expected time frame when this strategist believes the speaker will drop his bombshell.
In fairness, Myra is usually right.