Wisconsin Congressman and House Speaker Paul Ryan says he won’t be running for re-election this fall.
At a press conference in Washington on Wednesday, Ryan said he wants to step down from his nearly 20 year tenure in Washington and spend more time with his family. “What I realize is if I am here for one more term, my kids will only have ever known me as a weekend dad. I just can’t let that happen.”
Ryan told reporters that he’s very proud of the time he’s spent in office, and that he’s happy to have passed tax reform and enact Republican priority policies with the help of President Donald Trump.
In questions after his announcement, Ryan told reporters today he’s still confident with Republican chances in the 2018 elections. “I really don’t think a person’s race for Congress is going to hinge on whether Paul Ryan’s Speaker or not. Look, if we do our jobs, which we are, we’re going to be fine as a majority.” He says he’ll be keeping his role as the Speaker through January and that he’s expecting to hand off the gavel to another Republican.
Ryan also said that he’s confident that special counsel Robert Mueller and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein won’t be fired. “I think they should be allowed to do their jobs, we have a rule of law in this country and it’s a principle we all uphold. I have no reason to believe that’s going to happen, I have assurances that it’s not because I’ve been talking with people in the White House about it.”
In response to today’s announcement, Democrat Randy Bryce’s office released the following statement. “Paul Ryan decided to quit today rather than face Randy Bryce and the voters,” said campaign Communications Director Lauren Hitt. “Randy Bryce is incredibly well positioned to be the next representative for the First District. Electorates far more conservative than Wisconsin’s First have already elected Democrats in special elections in Wisconsin and across the country.” His office says Bryce has already raised $5 million dollars to campaign in the 1st District.
Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Vos says men like Paul Ryan don’t come around often. “When I met Paul Ryan in 1998 during his first run for Congress, it was obvious he was someone of incredible talent and amazing ability. Now 20 years later, his record and accomplishments speak for themselves. Paul has been perhaps the best congressman Wisconsin has ever sent to Washington and also one of the best speakers to have gaveled Congress into session. His commitment to serving the people of Wisconsin and the United States is unparalleled.”
Democratic Senator Tammy Baldwin said Ryan’s making a very difficult decision. “Before I was elected to the Senate I served with Paul Ryan in the House and have spent many years working with him on behalf of the people of Wisconsin. We know each other well and while we have different views on policy, I consider him a friend and have a lot of respect for him as a person and a public servant.”