Five different scenarios where Paul Ryan could and could not become speaker of the House
Paul Ryan has said he will not run for speaker of the House, but that doesn’t mean it won’t happen. There’s a strong likelihood GOP leaders will hold an election for a new speaker and they won’t want to give a platform to someone who isn’t interested in a run for speaker.
One big factor that could separate Ryan from a potential bid for speaker would be a Republican primary challenge.
If Ryan is going to try and win a primary, he’s going to have to raise a lot of money — much more than most candidates would ever run. With his credentials as the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, he will have an instant cache among big donors and he wouldn’t have to campaign across the country to win. However, that doesn’t mean voters have faith in Ryan or could even entertain his candidacy.
Ryan is also in safe GOP territory. If he decided to run, he would almost certainly have a strong shot at winning reelection. A challenge from a more liberal Republican might take votes away from him, and Democrats in this district also haven’t given him a warm welcome. But Ryan is in a solid district, and he’d be in a better position to survive a primary challenge than members in many other districts.
So for now, Ryan is focused on maintaining his current safe seat and he is not actively considering a run for speaker. Ryan himself said he’s leaving the leadership because he’d rather give the job to someone younger and less likely to risk the party’s majority.
That said, if Democrats win big in the midterms and control the House, there’s a strong possibility Ryan would consider a run for speaker.
Nancy Pelosi says she’s focused on working for all her caucus to take back the House, and if they win, it’s really in her interest to stay in charge. While Ryan says he doesn’t want to run, Pelosi certainly will. Right now, she’s set to run again as Speaker. But with Republicans facing their own problems in the midterms, her continued role as Speaker might be in jeopardy.
Jayshree Ullal won a primary on July 16 in Georgia’s 6th District, and her winning campaign manager, Brandon Johnson, is currently a strategist for Georgia Rep. Doug Collins.
He may not have been elected to Congress, but Sen. Ted Cruz and former Secretary of State John Kerry have also both declared they won’t run for speaker — though they would be nominated.