Speaker Paul Ryan has announced that he will not seek re-election for his congressional seat in November. In a statement he gave announcing the decision he laid out his reasons:
Some of you know my story, my dad died when I was 16 – the age my daughter is – and I just don’t want to be one of those people looking back at my life thinking I spent more time with my kids
Rumours had been swirling around Washington before his speech officially confirmed the news. Paul Ryan, representing a district in Wisconsin, has served in the House of Representatives, the lower house in the bicameral US system, since 1999 and ran as Mitt Romney’s vice president pick in 2012.
Responding to rumours about an imminent departure in December 2017, Ryan told Republican colleagues the was ‘not going anywhere’. Apparently frustrated with the actions and temperament of President Donald Trump, the recent FBI raid of the president’s personal attorney, Michael Cohen, may have made him change his mind.
Pressure is also mounting in his home district, where he was facing a challenge from Democratic ex-steelworker Randy ‘Ironstache’ Bryce. The Milwaukee born challenger is a relative political outsider, who has never held public office before. Yet he managed to raise over a million dollars to fight the election. Internal polling from the Democratic party had Bryce down only 6 percentage points versus Ryan at the end of 2017.
Ryan joins a long list of Republican lawmakers to retire in 2018. Over 30 will not seek re-election, instead choosing to retire from frontline politics when their terms end. The Speaker did manage to pass his long-term goal of tax reform, earlier this year, slashing taxes for the majority of Americans but only by increasing the US deficit.
Now that Congressman Ryan has pulled out, the front-runner for his seat is Paul Nehlan, who has been banned from Twitter for his controversial posts and views. More traditional Republican candidates may come forward now that the incumbent has declined to run.
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