Republicans have urged Paul Ryan to step up for House Speaker in an attempt to bring unity to the GOP caucus. He may already be having that effect. After a mid-morning caucus conference, two potential rivals publicly endorsed the Ways and Means chair for the post, including formally declared candidate Jason Chaffetz:
Chaffetz, who launched his Speaker bid last weekend, said he’d end his bid if Ryan heeds the call to enter the race.
“I’m a huge fan of Paul Ryan. I would support Paul Ryan,” Chaffetz told reporters.
“Part of the reason I got into the race was because people like Paul Ryan weren’t stepping up to do it,” added Chaffetz, the House Oversight Committee chairman.
Ditto, says Darrell Issa, who appeared on Morning Joe earlier to talk up his own potential candidacy and throw shade at Chaffetz. Issa says he also only considered running for it because Ryan had demurred. Issa also says that he’s hearing from Freedom Caucus members that Ryan would be acceptable to them, potentially ending the impasse among House Republicans:
California Rep. Darrell Issa, who had entertained the idea of entering the race himself earlier on Friday morning, said after the meeting that he did “everything except carry his gym bag this morning” in trying to convince Ryan to throw his name into the ring.
“The fact is, Paul Ryan is the right man right now, he has moderate support and he very clearly has conservative support,” Issa said. “Members of the Freedom Caucus have come to me one after the other saying, ‘Let Paul know we would be with him.’ That’s a very good sign after the strained relations that John Boehner had with that same caucus.”
Mia Love says she’s holding out for Trey Gowdy, but he seems immovable on the subject:
“I’m going to keep asking him to run,” Rep. Mia Love, R-Utah, said on Thursday of her pleas to Gowdy.
CNN says that several Republicans are now openly saying that Ryan is considering it now:
Rep. Paul Ryan is telling House Republicans privately he is considering running for speaker, several members say.
Ryan informed several members on the House floor of his deliberations, Rep. Chris Stewart, R-Utah, told CNN. Stewart added that he urged Ryan to run, with the Wisconsin Republican replaying that he was “thinking and praying on it.” …
Rep. Darrell Issa, R-California, said that Ryan told him privately he is thinking about it as well. “I think he’s gone from a hard no to he knows he has to consider it,” he said.
Issa’s right about the point made in the video above. Ryan — or whoever takes this thankless post — will need to get 240 votes before jumping in to take it, and not just for personal vanity. The next Speaker has to get investment from all the factions in the House Republican caucus, or it’ll be nothing more than a repeat of Boehner’s tenure the last few years. If the Freedom Caucus will accept Ryan, then it makes sense to ask him to step up for the good of the party. Perhaps the reluctance Ryan has for this endeavor will also pressure everyone into giving him some space to operate for a while, too.
If Ryan passes, though, Gowdy had better expect a lot of attention from his cohorts in Congress.