Janesville reacts to Paul Ryan's departure

Yuri Gripas  Reuters
House Speaker Paul Ryan announced Wednesday that he will not seek re-election after months of rumors to that effect

Ryan's availability as Speaker next year should not in theory have any major negative impact on Republican prospects for November (though his retirement from the House does put his own district into play).

The Lake Geneva Republican was among a handful of Republicans who were being discussed as possible candidates after Ryan announced Wednesday, April 11, 2018 that he would retire from Congress after his current term. "He likes to fish and hunt and spend time with the kids and that's just the way it ought to be", said Fitzgerald. "So I will be setting new priorities in my life", he added.

On the Senate floor on Wednesday, minority leader Charles Schumer (D) of NY urged Ryan to use his "newfound political freedom ... to break free from these hard-right factions" in his caucus that contributed to gridlock and to reach across the aisle and work with Democrats.

It's tough enough to go from being the speaker to being a regular member of the House - if his colleagues decide to blame him for their losses, it will be downright humiliating.

The front-runner to lead House Republicans is House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, though his rise is far from certain. Both men spoke at the closed-door meeting Wednesday, delivering tributes to Ryan. And 38 House Republicans aren't searching for 2018 Reelection.

"When I look at that picture, Mr. Speaker, I have to say, I don't see anybody who looks like me, in terms of color or gender", King said, emulating the analogy made popular by former President Barack Obama. "Not in fact, but probably in practicality".

Finally, and potentially most importantly, leaving the House of Representatives is a necessary step if Ryan hopes to launch a bid for the presidency in 2020, or more likely 2024.

Nevertheless, he worked with the president on a massive tax cut that passed previous year, succeeding also in turning back the Affordable Care Act's individual mandate to buy health insurance or pay a fee.

President Donald Trump, with whom Ryan has had a tense relationship at times, praised the Ryan on Twitter.

Ryan was pulled into the leadership job by the sudden retirement in 2015 of Speaker John Boehner, who had struggled to control the chamber's restless conservative wing. He was former GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney's running mate in 2012.

"Although Speaker Ryan leaves big shoes to fill, I am confident a strong leader will emerge and continue the effort to reform Washington and keep our nation great", August said.

"Speaker Paul Ryan is a truly good man, and while he will not be seeking re-election, he will leave a legacy of achievement that nobody can question". "His bigoted rhetoric and his reprehensible statements should disqualify him from holding any public office, and we are confident voters in Southern Wisconsin feel the same way".

As the GOP jockeys to find a suitable candidate for Ryan's seat, the party is confronted with a reckoning over how unelected fringe candidates can hijack the party and manage to dominate mainstream coverage.

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