In a just released letter to his House colleagues Paul Ryan (R-WI) Chairman of the US House Ways & Means Committee (and former 2012 vice presidential candidate) said he is running for Speaker of the US House of Representatives.
Ryan’s decision comes after securing sufficient support from three major factions of the House
Republican caucus: the Republican Study Committee, the ultra-conservative House Freedom Caucus and the moderate Tuesday Group. Ryan was also convinced he received an agreement from supporters on the conditions he laid before the caucus, that he receive a majority of support from the caucus and that he would have weekends free to spend with his young family.
Both the Republican Study Committee and the moderate Tuesday Group endorsed Ryan. However, the ultra-right wing House Freedom Caucus did not endorse him. The House Freedom Caucus maintains in their bylaws that an official endorsement from the group requires 80 percent support. Ryan received 27 of a total 39 votes from the group.
Ryan also had one other significant demand from the Republican caucus, that the House change the rules governing “the motion to vacate the chair.” This demand drew most of the criticism from caucus members, especially the House Freedom Caucus who’s members used it against current Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH).
As we learned from the most recent incident with a Speaker-elect, this does not mean the race for Speaker is over. Members of the House will be home in their respective districts this weekend and a number of things could happen between now and the nomination by the caucus. A formal nomination election is set for October 28. The full House is scheduled to elect the Speaker on October 29.
U.S. Congressman Kevin Brady (R-TX) is the likely heir apparent to replace Ryan as Chairman of the US House Ways & Means Committee. Brady is next in line in seniority on the Committee.