The House Republicans are scrambling to find a positive side to the recently announced departure of Speaker Paul Ryan. On Wednesday, Ryan announced he would be retiring from politics once his term was completed in January of 2019.
Some members see Ryan’s departure as a huge loss for the party and predict that it could lead to a mass exodus, as other vulnerable politicians announce their retirements as well. Meanwhile, others point out that political retirements occur all the time.
“I mean we can try and sugar coat this all we want, but the Speaker’s decision isn’t going to have an impact on the majority one way or the other,” claimed retiring Representative Charlie Dent (R-Pa.).
A GOP strategist has said that the effects of Ryan’s departure are not going be to as seismic for the Republicans as claimed by the liberal media.
Before Ryan announced his retirement, there had already been many retirements announced already.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if you had five or 10 more retirements,” said Mackowiak. “Filing deadlines are coming up in the next 60 days. Decisions are going to be made.”
When Ryan made his announcement, there was a combination of tears and applause during the meeting. Ryan also bought to light his fundraising prowess, “I have shattered every fundraising record any Speaker has ever set.”
“There is nobody whose come close to being able to raise the kinds of funds that I have, and still can raise, for this majority,” said Ryan
“It makes no sense to take the biggest fundraiser off the field — and I think almost all our members see it that way as well,” added Ryan.
GOP strategists, however, think that the GOP’s fundraising edge may be lost after Ryan leaves power, even if he is still engaged in the task of fundraising, per se.
“I think he will be a strong fundraiser. He has been, and he will be,” said the head of the House GOP’s campaign arm, Rep. Steve Stivers (R-Ohio). “He wants to see it through.”
“[Ryan] clearly stated, ‘I think I need to be here, help to raise money and do things like that,’” said Rep. Walter Jones (R-N.C.). “So I think its fine for him to stay until January. He will still draw a lot of people.”
A GOP lawmaker has suggested that the process should move forward quickly, or else it could result in the battle of the front-runners escalating.
“I think it is in the best interest of the conference to move forward quickly,” said one GOP lawmaker.
“I think there’s pros and cons in terms of engaging our base,” said Republican Study Committee Chairman Mark Walker (R-N.C.) to the reporters. “If you have a heated [leadership] race going on in the House, it may create some energy or tension and that voter comes out.”
“If that’s already been settled, then maybe there’s more of a dormant mindset.”