House Speaker Paul Ryan won't seek re-election, dealing blow to Republicans

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    Speaker Paul Ryan Will Not Seek Re-election in November
    Paul Ryan Says He Will Retire

    WASHINGTON — Speaker Paul D. Ryan announced Wednesday that he will not seek re-election in November, ending a brief stint atop the House and signaling the peril that the Republican majority faces in the midterm elections.

    Mr. Ryan said he will serve until the end of this Congress in January, which will mark 20 years in Congress. He insisted he will be “leaving this majority in good hands with what I believe is a very bright future.”

    But his retirement, at the age of 48, is sure to kick off a succession battle for the leadership of the House Republican Conference, likely between the House majority leader, Kevin McCarthy of California, and the House majority whip, Steve Scalise of Louisiana. And it could also trigger another wave of retirements among Republicans not eager to face angry voters in the fall and taking their cue from Mr. Ryan.

    As if on cue, Representative Dennis Ross, Republican of Florida, announced his retirement an hour after Mr. Ryan.

    Mr. Ryan’s intentions were first reported by Axios.

    Mr. Ryan’s decision to quit caught many in the party by surprise. He had just hosted a donor retreat last week in Texas and most officials believed he would not leave until after November.

    Explaining his decision to his Republican colleagues Wednesday morning at a meeting in the Capitol, a subdued Mr. Ryan said he wanted to spend more time with his children, who live in the same town where the speaker grew up.

    He pledged that he would help fellow Republicans extensively in the 2018 campaign and said he would continue raising money at a powerful pace, according to two lawmakers in the room. Mr. Ryan has become the party’s most important fund-raiser in the House and Republicans have been counting on him to help them collect and spend tens of millions of dollars defending their majority this fall.

    He pointed to the recently enacted overhaul of the tax code and increased military spending as his signal accomplishments.

    Growing emotional at points, Mr. Ryan said family considerations weighed heavily on his retirement, explaining that his daughter was 13 when he became speaker and he did not want to be a remote figure in her teenage years.

    “The truth is, it is easy for it to take over everything in your life and you can’t just let that happen because there are other things in life that can be fleeting as well: Namely your time as a husband and a father,” he told reporters.

    But he has also been forced to answer for a constant stream of provocations and slights from President Trump, and his retirement announcement was no exception. Asked what should be done if the president has the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, fired, he answered, “I have no reason to believe that is going to happen. I’ve been talking to people in the White House about it.”

    Representative Charlie Dent, a moderate Republican from Pennsylvania who is also retiring, noted the difficulty of Mr. Ryan’s position.

    “We can all read between the lines,” Mr. Dent said. “This is not an easy administration to be dealing with.”

    Mr. Ryan has been publicly noncommittal for months about running for re-election, repeating a formulation that he was not going anywhere any time soon. At the retreat in Austin, Tex., Mr. Ryan was opaque about his plans for 2018, saying that he and his wife, Janna, would confer in the coming weeks to make a decision, according to two people who attended the gathering.

    But some in the audience found that unconvincing, and some party strategists indicated that his refusal to commit to running again was offering an excuse to donors to withhold from giving to House campaign efforts.

    Mr. Ryan said he had considered the effect his retirement would have on other lawmakers seeking re-election, but said his decision to retire was not based on signs of a growing Democratic wave.

    “If we do our job, as we are, we are going to be fine as a majority,” he said.

    Back in his Southeastern Wisconsin district, Mr. Ryan was facing a spirited challenge from two Democrats, Randy Bryce, better known by his Twitter handle, “Iron Stache,” and a schoolteacher, Cathy Myers. On his right flank, an avowed anti-Semite, Paul Nehlen, was making another run at the Republican nomination — and earning a national following among white supremacists.

    Mr. Ryan is by far the most prominent figure fleeing Congress in a long season of Republican retirements. More than 40 House Republicans are leaving the chamber to retire or seek other offices, including a number who have voiced concern about the 2018 elections and intense dissatisfaction with the state of Washington under Mr. Trump. Several others have resigned in personal scandals.

    The exodus of G.O.P. House members has lifted the Democrats’ hopes of regaining the majority.

    The exodus has further endangered Republicans’ already tenuous hold on Congress, creating open seats in states like New Jersey and California that Republicans will struggle to hold. Republicans acknowledged on Wednesday morning that Mr. Ryan’s seat will be far more vulnerable without the speaker on the ballot.

    Mr. Trump offered well-wishes on Twitter ahead of a planned dinner with Republican congressional leaders at the White House Wednesday evening.

    Representative Nancy Pelosi of California, the House Democratic leader who longs to return to the speakership, was faint with her praise.

    “The Speaker has been an avid advocate for his point of view and for the people of his district,” she said in a statement. “Despite our differences, I commend his steadfast commitment to our country.”

    Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader, urged Mr. Ryan to use his last months as speaker to work toward bipartisan compromises.

    “With his newfound political freedom, I hope the Speaker uses his remaining time in Congress to break free from the hard-right factions of his caucus that have kept Congress from getting real things done,” he said. “If he’s willing to reach across the aisle, he’ll find Democrats willing and eager to work with him.”

    Meantime, the scramble to succeed Mr. Ryan atop the Republican conference — if not the House majority — could prove intense. Mr. McCarthy made a run at the speakership after then-Representative John A. Boehner of Ohio announced his retirement but fell flat. Mr. Scalise will be a sentimental favorite after surviving a near-death shooting at a congressional baseball practice. But his ascent would signal another Republican turn to the right.

    “I think everybody will start jockeying for position immediately,” said Representative Mark Meadows of North Carolina, the chairman of the conservative Freedom Caucus. “They won’t wait for nine months.”

    The speaker made the decision over the spring congressional recess, a period during which he took his family on a vacation to Austria. Mr. Ryan has been frustrated with the seemingly unending tensions in his conference between conservative hard-liners and mainstream Republicans and the unpredictable Mr. Trump, whose recent tilt toward imposing tariffs and inviting a trade war is anathema to the free market-oriented speaker.

    Mr. Ryan, who told his staff about his decision at an early-morning meeting, indicated to advisers that he knows retiring will create political difficulties for the party but that he felt he could not in good conscience commit to another full two-year term.

    Yet that is of little comfort to those Republicans on the ballot this year who were expecting Mr. Ryan to campaign with lawmakers across the country. Even though he vowed to keep fulfilling his political responsibilities, he will not be nearly the draw as a lame duck. And with the filing period yet to pass in 19 states, it is now virtually impossible for Mr. Ryan to convince other lawmakers that they must run again.

    “This is the nightmare scenario,” said former Representative Thomas M. Davis, a Virginia Republican. “Everybody figured he’d just hang in there till after the election.”

    House Speaker Paul Ryan Won't Seek Re-election, Dealing Blow to Republicans - The New York Times https://apple.news/AjTb-rgryQde6jtI-f9H_Wg
     
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    Paul Ryan's retirement further signals that the GOP's House majority is in extreme danger
    (CNN) — House Speaker Paul Ryan's announcement Wednesday that he will not seek re-election is the latest sign that the Republican House majority is in trouble.

    The writing has been on the wall for a while now. President Donald Trump's low approval rating, Republicans' poor standing on the generic congressional ballot and Democratic performance in special elections since Trump took office all point to a bad outcome for Republicans in November.

    And now Ryan, the leader of the GOP House majority, has announced his exit, dealing a major symbolic blow to the party as it heads into a tough campaign season.


    Just over the last week, the prominent Cook Political Report has shifted their projections of 15 House seats in favor of the Democrats. After Ryan's announcement, there are now 80 Republican-held seats that are or have the potential to be competitive compared to just 16 seats for Democrats in Cook's ratings.

    When looking at Cook ratings specifically at this point in the cycle, there's been a fairly clear pattern since 2006:
    • Solid seats are won more than 99% of the time by the party favored in the solid seat at this point.
    • Likely seats are won about 85% of the time by the party favored at this point.
    • Leans are won about 70% of the time by the party favored at this point.
    • Tossups are won only 45% of the time by the party who currently holds the seat at this point. (That is, they aren't true tossups. They're actually slightly more likely to go the other party!)
    Given the number of seats in each of these categories right now, the current Cook projections suggest about 220 seats go Democratic to 215 going Republican after the election. That suggests close to a true tossup for control of the House.

    In other words, Democrats pick up a net of 24 seats. Democrats only need to net 23 seats to win the House majority.

    This distribution, however, misses a rather key point. The side that eventually picks up seats tends to do a lot better than the seat ratings suggest at this time. And usually, it is pretty clear which side is going to pick up seats. This year it's almost certainly the Democrats.

    When a party is going to pick up seats, they usually not only to do a very good job at holding the seats that are rated to go to them but also do a good job at picking up seats that the other side is actually favored to win. Put another way, seat-by-seat estimates at this point tend to underestimate the extent of the wave.

    Here's how the party that picks up seats on average does compared to the ratings at this point:
    • They win 99.8% of the seats they are solid in and even 1.3% of the seats that are solid for the other party.
    • They win 99.2% of the seats they are likely to win and 24% of the seats the other party is likely to win.
    • They win 90% of the seats that lean in their direction and 42% of the seat that lean in the other party's direction.
    • Finally, the party that ends up gaining seats in the midterm win on average 68% of the seats rated as tossups at this point.
    If apply this distribution to the current state of play, you'd end up with Democrats winning 233 seats in the House to just 202 for the Republicans. That's a net gain of 38 seats for the Democrats.

    But Democrats shouldn't be popping the champagne just yet, even with Ryan exiting the House. Although most years follow a pattern similar to the average, there's enough variability in how race ratings at this point translate to eventual seat gains over the last five cycles to be exactly sure how many seats Democrats will gain.

    Republicans actually won most of the toss-up races in 2016, even though they lost seats. If the distribution follows the 2016 pattern, Democrats would only win around 208 seats or a net gain of 13 seats.

    Of course, it's plausible that Democrats win even more seats than 233. If the different categories break as they did in 2006, Democrats would win about 248 seats or a net gain of 53 seats.

    Neither the low-end or the high-end seat gains look like the most likely outcomes at this time, but they give you an idea that there are a lot of different potential outcomes given we're still months before the election.

    Indeed, there's even more reason to be cautious: different race ratings suggest potentially different stories about the state of play for the House. CNN produces its own ratings, which are slightly less bullish on the Democrats. There are also the folks at Inside Elections who see things somewhat differently.

    Inside Elections has over 20 more seats that are solid (or safely) Republican than Cook and over a dozen more than CNN. Part of this difference may have to do with the fact that Cook and CNN view the likely category as uncompetitive at this time (though could become competitive), while Inside Elections views the likely category as competitive. Inside Elections also has about 15 seats more overall than either CNN or Cook in which Republicans are at least nominally favored, though much of that has to do with the fact that Inside Elections has an extra category between lean and toss-up known as "tilt."

    Applying how races have broken historically to the Inside Elections' ratings would suggest that Democrats are only slightly more likely than Republicans to gain control. Of course, that's only if races break towards the party that gains seats in the fashion they normally do. If Republicans hold the seats they're favored in at this time, then they probably would hold on to control of the House.

    Still, the fact that the Democrats are still in a decent position to take back the House even in the more pessimistic race ratings gives you an idea that things are probably leaning their way and gave Ryan good reason to leave.

    https://www.cnn.com/2018/04/11/politics/paul-ryan-retirement-midterms-analysis/index.html
     
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    The Saddest Part About Paul Ryan Leaving

     
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    Paul Ryan Is Taking His Tax Cuts And Going Home

     
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    Paul Ryan isn’t retiring because he’d lose. He’s retiring because Republicans are screwed.
    Ryan’s decision not to run for reelection in 2018 is all about November.

    Paul Ryan isn’t ducking out of a November election because he’d lose his House seat. Paul Ryan is retiring because he can see what is becoming increasingly obvious: In November, congressional Republicans are, for all intents and purposes, screwed.

    And if Ryan stuck around, he’d return to a House very likely overrun by Democrats and end up handing over his speaker’s gavel.

    The polling says Democrats are in good position for November

    According to a March internal poll, Ryan was beating the leading Democratic candidate challenger, Randy Bryce, 55 percent to 34 percent.

    But nationwide, things look much different. Democrats are leading the generic ballot for Congress by an average of 7.3 points. For comparison’s sake, in 2006, Democrats were leading the generic poll for Congress in April by an average of 7 points. That fall, Democrats won back control of the House and the Senate in their largest seat gain in the House since 1974. In fact, the 2006 election was so one-sided that Democrats did not lose a single incumbent or open seat.

    For Republicans, this isn’t a signal of a blue wave. It’s the ominous rumblings of a blue tsunami.

    State-level Republicans face the brunt of voter anger

    Republicans at the state level have been extremely successful over the past decade. In November of 2016, 85 percent of Americans lived in states either completely or partially controlled by the GOP. In general, that’s been because state-level Republicans have largely ignored the party’s dealings in Washington, and won by doing so.

    But even before Pennsylvania Democratic candidate Conor Lamb’s stunning victory over Republican Rick Saccone in March, a longtime GOP political consultant in Pennsylvania who has worked on presidential campaigns within the state since 1988 told me back in December that conditions for Republicans at the state level under Trump are dire.

    “This is beyond any question the worst political climate for Republicans since I was thrilled to be allowed to stuff envelopes 35 years ago,” said the consultant, who asked that his name not be used in order to speak freely. “As long as the flight of educated voters from the Republican Party continues unabated, no suburban territory can be taken for granted by any Republican running for state or local office.”

    When I asked him today if anything had changed in his view, he responded, “Not much has changed, simply unfolded.”

    Trump doesn’t have coattails

    One big problem for House Republicans is Donald Trump. Trump is extremely popular with Republicans, but he doesn’t have coattails. So far in 2018, Democrats have overperformed in special elections and state elections. In 2016, even though Trump won the White House, the Republican majority in the House shrank. And Republican candidates attempting to run in his image don’t get a boost either.

    Trump is, meanwhile, so unpopular with Democrats and independents that just the prospect of voting against the “Trump agenda” can drive fundraising and campaigning.

    Take Ryan’s home state of Wisconsin, for example.

    Last week, Milwaukee County Judge Rebecca Dallet beat Sauk County Judge Michael Screnock, the first liberal victory in a race for a seat on the Wisconsin Supreme Court in 23 years. Dallet benefited from increased voter turnout, even in the midst of a snowstorm, and even won in conservative counties that Trump won in 2016. And she did it by running not just against Screnock but against Trump too.

    As the Wall Street Journal pointed out in an editorial on April 4:

    This confirms what we learned in Pennsylvania’s 18th Congressional district special election in March and the Virginia governor’s race last year. President Trump’s chaotic and polarizing governance has motivated the left to turn out in big numbers while turning off some Republicans, especially in the suburbs.

    Paul Ryan’s absence means that currently, the leading Republican candidate for Wisconsin’s First Congressional District, which Ryan represents, is Paul Nehlen, an avowed white supremacist who published a “Jewish media” list on Twitter and said that his removal from Breitbart News’s website “reveals to me that, in fact, Jews control the media.” Granted, Nehlen probably won’t win the nomination; for one, the Wisconsin Republican Party wants absolutely nothing to do with him.

    But it says something about today’s GOP. The party holds every branch of government, including the White House, and Republicans control most of America’s statehouses and governors’ mansions.

    But the only Republican with any funding to run for Paul Ryan’s seat has been kicked out of the state’s Republican Party for being a racist anti-Semite.

    Paul Ryan isn’t retiring because he’d lose. He’s retiring because Republicans are screwed. - Vox https://apple.news/AjyWq3EuGQ3G5pgKRJqnZfA
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2018

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