US Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin) says he’d seek the House of Representatives speakership if he is the “unity candidate” for the party.
Ryan is seeking assurances from within the GOP about his run – specifically that all areas of the party share his vision for the divided House going forward. The major caucuses would also need to endorse him.
Additionally, Ryan called for certain rules changes to strengthen the speakership and address other members’ concerns, while asking to keep his calendar open to spend time with his family.
According to a statement from Ryan’s camp, the Wisconsin lawmaker “will be all in” if the party can get behind him and gave them until Friday to decide.
In what was perhaps the quickest party response to Ryan’s announcement, US Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) – who had sought to counter House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s (R-California) candidacy for the speakership – dropped his bid for the position, saying “I’m out, and all in for Paul Ryan.”
McCarthy ended his brief candidacy earlier this month.
Ryan had announced earlier that he would meet with members of a conservative faction of the House known as the Freedom Caucus, an indication that he is seriously mulling a run to replace House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio).
“He’s always willing to talk with his colleagues,” Ryan spokesman Brendan Buck told Business Insider.
Republicans have been pressing Ryan to run for speaker since House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-California) unexpectedly dropped out of the race to succeed Boehner.
A wide swath of the GOP establishment, including Boehner, McCarthy, and even 2012 presidential nominee Mitt Romney, have reportedly urged Ryan to run – even though Romney said last week that he might prefer Ryan hold out to be in a better position to eventually run for president.
Some of the more conservative members of the House Republican caucus, however, have already signaled their displeasure in Ryan as a choice to replace Boehner, with whom they often clashed. The House Freedom Caucus, comprised of more than 40 of those highly conservative members, has supported Rep. Daniel Webster (R-Florida) for speaker.
Ryan received something of a surprise endorsement from a key Democrat with whom he’d have to work often as a member of congressional leadership. US Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada) said he was a “fan” of Ryan, even though he disagrees with him most of the time.
Boehner is set to retire at the end of the month, but he has said he will stay on until his caucus picks his successor.
Meanwhile, Congress is running up against a slew of upcoming deadlines, including a November 3 cutoff point to raise the nation’s debt limit and avoid a potential default.