Speaker of the House Paul Ryan announced to friends, colleagues, and the press Wednesday morning that he will not run for re-election in 2018.
In a Wednesday morning press conference, Ryan said he will remain Speaker until the end of the year and looks forward to spending more time with his children.
“You all know that I did not seek this job,” Ryan said. “I took it reluctantly, but I have given this job everything that I have, and I have no regrets whatsoever for having accepted this responsibility.”
Ryan will join over 30 other Republicans in the House of Representatives who have already announced their retirements earlier this year, an indication that the GOP believes the party may not have what it takes to hold onto the House in 2018. Democrats only needs to pick up 24 seats to take back the chamber.
Although Democrats have a number of vulnerable incumbents themselves, many of the Republican retirements — including Reps. Charlie Dent (R-PA), Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ), Dave Reichert (R-WA), and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) — represent strong chances for Democrats to pick up seats, especially with enthusiasm high in the Democratic base.
Democrats need to flip 24 Republican-held seats to regain control of the house.
Ryan’s potential opponent, a pro-union ironworker named Randy Bryce, was expected to be a tough challenger for Wisconsin’s 1st District. Bryce’s campaign announced Tuesday that they outraised Ryan in the first three months of 2018 by $1.75 million without taking money from corporate PACs.
“Paul Ryan decided to quit today rather than face Randy Bryce and the voters,” a statement from the Bryce campaign reads.
Bryce raised $2.1 million in the first quarter of this year, $4.75 million total, according to his campaign pic.twitter.com/bbU9sNGDP2
— Johnny Verhovek (@JTHVerhovek) April 11, 2018
Ryan unfortunately didn’t stay long enough in Congress to fulfill his life-long dream of slashing Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security, but he did secure tax cuts for corporations and the wealthiest Americans.
As for who will take Ryan’s place as Speaker of the House, Politico reported earlier this week that Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Majority Whip Steve Scalise are positioning themselves to take his place.