Arthur J. Villasanta – Fourth Estate Contributor
Washington, DC, United States (4E) – House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) has joined a record number of Republicans opting not to seek re-election amid mounting signs the dreaded “Blue Wave” will inexorably sweep the GOP from control of the House in November.
The man who confessed to not wanting the job announced his retirement from politics during a news conference at the Capitol Wednesday. Ryan later appeared on CNN to squelch rumors he took this move as a prelude to a run for President.
Including Ryan, there are now 39 Republican incumbents that have said they won’t stand for re-election in November. This is the largest number of Republican retirements yet. There are currently 237 Republicans and 192 Democrats in the House.
Ryan’s announcement is the clearest signal Republicans aren’t confident of retaining control of the House in the midterms. Ryan, 48, is now the most high profile Republican to forsake re-election. The Republican retreat will certainly reflect on donors who might be more disinclined to bankroll Republican candidates, and grassroots party activists who might lose enthusiasm in reaching out to voters.
According to a Republican cited by media, Ryan’s decision “is a Titanic, tectonic shift … This is going to make every Republican donor believe the House can’t be held.”
Democrats are feeling increasingly confident about their chances of regaining control of the House. Many of the other classic signs of a Blue Wave are manifesting themselves: low approval ratings for Trump; a consistent voter preference for the out-of-power party in polling questions and a huge enthusiasm gap among Democratic and Republican activists.
“Speaker Ryan sees what is coming in November, and is calling it quits rather than standing behind a House Republican agenda,” said Tyler Law, a spokesman for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. “Stay tuned for more retirements as Republicans increasingly realize that their midterm prospects are doomed.”
Last month, Democrat Conor Lamb won a special election in a Pennsylvania district so historically safe for Republicans that Democrats were dissuaded from running a candidate in 2016 and 2014.
Ryan insisted the looming prospect of returning to the minority wasn’t a factor in his decision. “You all know me: I didn’t take this job to get the gavel in the first place. I’m not a guy who thinks about it like that.” This really was two things: I have accomplished much of what I came here to do. And my kids aren’t getting any younger. And if I stay they’re only going to know me as a weekend dad, and that’s just something I constantly can’t do. And that’s really it right there.”
Ryan was the Republican vice presidential nominee in 2012. It’s an open secret he harbors presidential ambitions and close friends say he could make another run in the future, probably as early as 2020. Friends revealed Ryan wanted to quit a job that that has become endlessly frustrating because of Trump’s ignorance.
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