Paul Ryan to Seek Re-election as Speaker

Paul Ryan to Seek Re-election as Speaker
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Paul Ryan sent a letter to his Republican colleagues Monday morning confirming his intention to run for speaker again and asking for their support.

The letter comes as little surprise, as Ryan announced after last week’s election that he would stay in his post as the House leader, and questions about whether the Wisconsin Republican would have the support of his conference mostly faded since Donald Trump’s surprise victory. Echoing the sentiment he has shared publicly in the past week, Ryan told his colleagues: “It’s time to go big. We have an historic opportunity to turn President-elect Trump’s extraordinary victory into progress for the American people.”

In his letter, Ryan brought up how divided Republicans were as a conference a year ago, when conservatives helped push his predecessor, John Boehner, to retire and it became clear that Ryan was the only House GOP member who could win enough support to serve in the role. He also touted the agenda he crafted early this year and campaigned on throughout the summer and fall, and said that agenda would help Republicans “hit the ground running as we join forces with the new Trump administration."

“As you know, it was not my plan or my desire to be Speaker,” Ryan wrote his colleagues. “I accepted this duty reluctantly, but I have given it everything I have. I do so out of love of country, and great affection for the men and women I serve with every day. Working closely with you, visiting your districts, getting to know your families better — these are among the true privileges of this job.

“Serving as Speaker is a tremendous honor and one I do not take for granted. I am running for re-election so that we can continue what we have started and make 2017 a year of action. I ask for your vote and I ask for your support at the start of this great undertaking.”

If Ryan is re-elected, his ongoing relationship with Trump will prove critical to any progress both can achieve when Trump takes the oath of office in January. They have melded on certain issues, such as the repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act, and they have publicly tried to move past their disagreements from the campaign — including Ryan’s decision not to immediately endorse Trump when he won the nomination, and saying he would no longer defend Trump after the controversial “Access Hollywood” recording of the nominee was leaked. But Ryan declined to address those differences during an appearance on CNN Sunday.

“I’m not going to re-litigate the past, I’m looking for the future,” he said.

The internal House Republican elections for leadership posts, including speaker, are set for Tuesday, with a vote by the full House in January.

James Arkin is a congressional reporter for RealClearPolitics. He can be reached at jarkin@realclearpolitics.com. Follow him on Twitter @JamesArkin.

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