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Paul Ryan retires, but who will replace him?

Conservative Review

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, R-Wisc. will not run for re-election, sources told the Associated Press and Axios.

The speaker's office released the following statement:

"This morning Speaker Ryan shared with his colleagues that this will be his last year as a member of the House. He will serve out his full term, run through the tape, and then retire in January. After nearly twenty years in the House, the speaker is proud of all that has been accomplished and is ready to devote more of his time to being a husband and a father. While he did not seek the position, he told his colleagues that serving as speaker has been the professional honor of his life, and he thanked them for the trust they placed in him. He will discuss his decision at a press conference immediately following the member meeting."

Ryan's departure from Congress has been rumored for months. A battle will now begin within the House Republican conference to succeed Ryan as the leading Republican. The retirement news is also fuel for worries that Republicans will lose the House in the 2018 midterms. Recent special elections and polling data support the prediction that Democrats are poised to make a comeback in Congress this year.

“This is a Titanic, tectonic shift. … This is going to make every Republican donor believe the House can’t be held,” said one "wired" Republican who spoke to Axios.

This will kick off a battle for leadership between Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., and House Majority Whip Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., Ryan's top two subordinates. But conservatives aren't likely to roll over to keep the same leadership team.

In a recent interview with Conservative Review, Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., said there are "no suitable candidates" among current leadership to take over for Ryan because "they fundamentally don’t understand what the job description is."

They think, because they’ve witnessed John Boehner and Paul Ryan do the job, that they understand what the job is, i.e., go talk to the lobbyists, go talk to special interests, figure out what the bill’s got to look like. And then go convince 434 other members of Congress that they are somehow involved when they’re not, after you’ve already written the bill. That’s not the job description.

Massie was the only Republican to vote against Ryan for speaker.

The question remains, however, if not McCarthy or Scalise, then who? Will there be a conservative alternative to the current leadership team to succeed Ryan? And will these Republicans be vying for the speakership in the majority, or jockeying for the role of minority leader in a Democrat-controlled House of Representatives?

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