MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — President Donald Trump says Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan leaves a “legacy of achievement” after the Wisconsin lawmaker announced Wednesday that he won’t seek re-election.
“I am announcing that this year will be my last year as a member of the House,” the 48-year-old from Janesville, Wisconsin, said.
The announcement sent shockwaves through the Republican party nationwide.
Meanwhile, there have been widespread predictions that Republicans will take a hit in the midterm elections in November.
“It adds to the downbeat story about Republicans struggling this year,” said Larry Jacobs, a professor at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs. “It appears the ship is going down and Paul Ryan is running of it before it sinks.”
Rep. Jason Lewis, of Minnesota’s 2nd District, strongly disagrees.
“I don’t think who the speaker is or who is incoming or who is out-going has an effect on individual districts,” he said. “We will be judged on the policies we enact.”
Ryan, who has three young teenagers, insists it is family concerns that are motivating him.
His announcement comes in an election year when four of Minnesota’s eight house races are considered tossups.
“For Minnesota Republicans who are going to be in these top dollar races, they have just lost their top fundraiser,” Jacobs said.
Not to mention the loss of star power.
Days before the 2016 election, when it looked like Minnesota Rep. Erik Paulsen might be in trouble, Ryan came to Plymouth to campaign for him.
Paulsen, of Minnesota’s 3rd Congressional District, won by double digits.
On Wednesday, he issued a statement saying Ryan’s leadership was essential to enacting “once-in-a-generation tax reform.”
As for Ryan’s political future, he says he’s done seeking elected office.
But being that he is still under 50 – and the former vice presidential running mate of Mitt Romney – he will remain a GOP star.
It’s widely believed that someday Ryan will mount his own run for the presidency.