Word broke early this morning that Paul Ryan would not be seeking re-election in November. This comes as a surprise to many and a blow to the Republican Party. Ryan expressed that he felt he had accomplished many of his legislative goals in his 20 years in Congress. Also, Ryan mentioned that he’d like to see his children more and no longer be just a “weekend dad.”
Kristina Peterson from the Wall Street Journal makes the point that it is a surprising move for a party leader to resign before the midterms. This will likely hurt Ryan’s power and influence during his remaining months in Congress. Some think this indicates that Ryan is not optimistic about the Republican’s chances in the midterms.
Tyler Law, a spokesperson for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, said, “Speaker Ryan sees what is coming in November. Stay tuned for more retirements as Republicans increasingly realize that their midterm prospects are doomed.” On the other hand, Ryan has said that his decision has nothing do with elections in November and that his departure will not hurt the GOP.
Ryan’s seat is likely at risk as well. Two Democrats have already announced, and there is still more time before the candidate filing deadline of June 1. A union activist, Randy Bryce, is gaining momentum in Wisconsin. Reid Epstein from the Wall Street Journal says that Bryce has already raised a substantial amount of $4.75 million.
Cathy Myers, a former teacher, is also running for Paul Ryan’s seat. However, she has only raised about $750,000. At this point, there is no clear frontrunner for Republicans to support. Paul Nehlen is running, but he lost badly to Ryan in the 2016 primary.
While there is time for more Republicans to announce, any candidate who announces will have a large financial disadvantage compared to Bryce. Anyone who announces also faces a time disadvantage. This will be an interesting battle to monitor throughout the summer and into November.