House Speaker and Sophomore Class President Paul Ryan has decided he won't run for re-election this year:
The latest and most high-profile departure from Congress, he joins dozens of Republicans who have resigned or retired ahead of the 2018 midterms,according to a Congressional Casualty List. According to an NBC News count, Ryan is the 24th House Republican who has decided not to seek re-election this cycle. His departure had been rumored for months.
Back home in his Wisconsin district, there are already a slew of challengers lined up, including Democrat Randy Bryce, who boasted yesterday of strong fundraising numbers. He cheered Ryan's announcement with a joke about Republican efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare.
In Washington, Ryan's announcement moves the potential battle for House Speaker out of the shadows and gives possible contenders like House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., and others time to gather support for possible bids to lead their conference in the next Congress.
Jennifer Rubin sees another rat (in her own party, take note) leaving the sinking ship:
The political reality is less noble. One can hardly imagine a more obvious signal that Ryan fears the prospect, if not of losing his own seat, than of losing the majority and hence his speakership. In the past, speakers — understanding the demoralizing impact that premature white-flag-waving would have on their troops — had the good sense to wait until after the election to announce that they would exit the leadership of their party. Ryan’s move has several consequences.
First, Democrats (who were heavily spending to defeat Ryan) can declare victory in that race and save the money it would have taken to knock out a sitting speaker.
Second, this is a flashing light to donors and candidates on both sides. For Republican money-men, the message is: Don’t throw away cash trying to save the House. (One wonders whether Ryan, previously a strong fundraiser, will still be able to get donors to open their wallets when he’s abandoning ship.)
Third, this will be seen in some quarters as a sign that Ryan cannot bear defending the president from potential impeachment. It has been a chore to act as Trump’s lead apologist, ignoring Trump’s outbursts and justifying his zigzags.
I'm very much looking forward to a Democratic 116th Congress. Apparently so is Paul Ryan.