Paul Ryan Announces Candidacy for Speaker of the House

October 22nd 2015

Alex Mierjeski

Wisconsin Republican Rep. Paul Ryan announced his candidacy for speaker of the House of Representatives after securing unified support from the Republican party. But he'll face the tough task of uniting the divided House Republicans who drove his predecessor, Speaker John Boehner, into an early retirement. This tweet from conservative commentator Laura Ingraham sums up the challenge Ryan faces:

Ingraham, a critic of Ryan, said this in reference to a controversy yesterday that started when word leaked that Ryan told conservatives members of the House that he would not take the speaker job unless certain demands about his power were met, including one rule that would make it much harder for House members to take the job away from Ryan were he to accept.

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The announcement comes after House Republicans tapped Ryan for the speaker position, but also after Ryan set down a list of conditions the party must accept in order for him to run, including free weekends for family time.

"I never thought I'd be speaker," Ryan wrote in a letter to colleagues on Thursday, according to the blog Roll Call. "But I pledged to you that if I could be a unifying figure, then I would serve—I would go all in. After talking with so many of you, and hearing your words of encouragement, I believe we are ready to move forward as one, unified team."

"And I am eager to be our speaker," Ryan added.

Ryan announced his candidacy after getting the backing of three major groups within the House GOP: the Freedom Caucus, the Republican Study Committee, and the Tuesday Group. As the Hill notes, both the Study Committee and the Tuesday Group officially endorsed Ryan, with the Freedom Caucus pledging the backing of a "supermajority," but not recording enough votes to give an official endorsement.

Boehner announced last month that he would leave the post at the end of October, after facing criticism from conservatives in his party who felt he was too soft in opposing President Barack Obama. Republican hardliners had pushed for a spending bill that would defund Planned Parenthood, but Boehner, hoping to avoid a government shut down, ultimately did not budge.

The House will come to a final vote next week.

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