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House Speaker Paul Ryan Won't Run For Re-Election, 'I Have Given This Job Everything I Have'

April 11, 2018 - 8:11 am
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WASHINGTON (AP) — Claiming he's accomplished a "heckuva lot," House Speaker Paul Ryan announced Wednesday he will not run for re-election and will retire next year, injecting another layer of uncertainty as Republicans face worries over losing their majority in the fall.

The Wisconsin Republican cast the decision as a personal one, saying he did not want his children growing up with a "weekend dad." He told reporters he believes he's leaving with strong accomplishments his party can sell to voters ahead of November elections.

"I have given this job everything I have," he said. "We're going to have a great record to run on."

Ryan's plans have been the source of much speculation and will set off a scramble among his lieutenants to take the helm. A self-styled budget guru, Ryan had made tax cuts a centerpiece of his legislative agenda, and a personal cause, and Congress delivered on that late last year.

Ryan, who has had a difficult relationship with President Donald Trump, thanked the president for giving him the chance to move the GOP ahead.

Ryan, 48, announced his plans at a closed-door meeting of House Republicans Wednesday morning, according to those present. His tone was somber, and he read directly from prepared remarks.

"After nearly 20 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," Ryan adviser Brendan Buck said in a statement. "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."

The speaker called extended family and a few close friends Tuesday night and alerted a few staff. On Wednesday morning, he called the President and the Vice President and informed the rest of his staff before going to the conference meeting, officials said.

Ryan will serve out his term and retire in January, Buck said.

CBS News confirms that after months of rumors speculating his political future, House Speaker Paul Ryan announced that he will not be seeking re-election in 2018. Ryan joins the growing list of Republican House members also resigning from Congress. More than 30 Republicans in the House and Senate have announced that they plan to leave Congress by the beginning of 2019.

He informed his GOP colleagues he was not running for re-election so he could spend more time with his three children -- their childhood is quickly ending, he said, and he wants to be a dad. Ryan received several ovations and many members shed tears, a source with direct knowledge told CBS News Chief White House correspondent Major Garrett. The speaker will still want to help with the recruitment of new members, with fundraising and the ground game for the GOP.

The speakers's office released the following statement on Ryan early Wednesday morning:

"This morning Speaker Ryan shared with his colleagues that this will be his last year as a member of the House. He will serve out his full term, run through the tape, and then retire in January. 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. 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. He will discuss his decision at a press conference immediately following the member meeting." –Brendan Buck, Counselor to the Speaker

President Trump issued a tweet on the news Wednesday morning, saying that will Ryan will not seek re-election, he leaves behind a "legacy of achievement that nobody can question."

The speaker previously told CBS News' "Face the Nation" in January that he would discuss running for reelection with his family before making a decision on the matter.

"Look, if we're doing fine I have no plans of going anywhere any time soon," Ryan said. "But that's something that my wife and I always decide in late spring of the election year."

Ryan, a Republican from Janesville, Wisconsin, was first elected to Congress in 1998. Along with Reps. Eric Cantor and Kevin McCarthy, he branded himself a rising "Young Gun" in an aging party.

He became the GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney's running mate in 2012.

Ryan was pulled into the leadership job by the abrupt retirement of House Speaker John Boehner in 2015. Boehner had struggled to wrangle the chamber's restless conservative wing and failed to the seal big-picture deals on fiscal policy he sought. Ryan had more trust with the hardliners in the House, but had no more success in brokering fundamental reform of entitlement he sought.

He ultimately had to wrestle with another unexpected challenge: President Donald Trump, a president with little of Ryan's interest in policy detail or ideological purity. The two have had not had a close working relationship.

House Majority Leader McCarthy, a Republican from California known to be tighter with Trump, is expected to seeking the speaker post. He will likely compete with House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, of Louisiana, for the job. Both men spoke at the closed-door meeting Wednesday, delivering tributes to Ryan.

In Wisconsin, the most likely Republican candidate is state Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, multiple Republicans in the state said. Vos did not immediately return telephone or text messages.

Another Republican mentioned as a potential candidate is longtime Ryan family friend and Ryan backer Bryan Steil, an attorney and member of the University of Wisconsin Board of Regents. Steil did not immediately return an email seeking comment.

Democrat Randy Bryce, a colorful ironworker who has cultivated an "IronStache" moniker, had been Ryan's best-known challenger, drawing liberal support from around the country. He had nearly $2.3 million in the bank at the end of the first quarter. Janesville teacher Cathy Myers was also running on the Democratic side. The only declared Republican was Paul Nehlen, who was banned from Twitter for a series of posts criticized as racist or anti-Semitic.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

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