Paul Ryan Is (Finally) Running For Speaker

by Celia Darrough

After getting the unified support he required from Republicans, Paul Ryan will now run to be speaker of the house. Ryan has been under intense pressure from his fellow Republicans to run, as the party has been largely seen as falling apart after House Speaker John Boehner announced he would step down. Earlier this week, Ryan listed conditions that must be met before he would officially declare his candidacy for the position. One of them was that he must receive full endorsement from the party, and after the House Freedom Caucus endorsed him Wednesday, the road was clear for him to run. He wrote in a letter to colleagues Thursday:

After talking with so many of you, and hearing your words of encouragement, I believe we are ready to move forward as a one, united team. And I am ready and eager to be our speaker.

Along with the full support of the party, Ryan also wanted the House rules updated to "ensure we don’t experience constant leadership challenges and crisis," and he also said he would refuse to give up his family time. Paul's conditions — and overall reluctance to run — were heavily criticized by even his own party. For instance, Rep. Tim Huelskamp said, "He says, ‘I don’t want to work weekends.’ I’ve never heard of someone who wanted more power and less responsibility."

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Ryan made it very clear that most of his hesitation to run for speaker was because of the demanding nature of the job, which would take him away from his wife and children. (Which is admirable, but can you imagine if a woman listed that as one of her conditions to take the job?) But his hesitation also lay in the fact that, really, the far-right pushes of certain Republicans are really beginning to deteriorate the party. As The Washington Post detailed, the very, very right-leaning House Freedom Caucus was part of the push to get Boehner out. In calling for unified support and a change in House rules, Ryan was making a statement that those kind of antics just won't fly.

And in gaining the support of that particular caucus, Ryan obviously felt confident enough to more forward with his candidacy, despite the fact he doesn't particularly want the role. He said, “This is not a job I’ve ever wanted, I’ve ever sought. I came to the conclusion that this is a very dire moment, not just for Congress, not just for the Republican Party, but for our country.”

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Is anyone else running for speaker? After hearing Ryan was considering a candidacy, Rep. Jason Chaffetz dropped out of the race and put his support behind him. Rep. Lynn Westmoreland had said he'd run if Ryan didn't, so it's safe to assume that he's now out. But according to Breitbart, Rep. Daniel Webster isn't backing down just because Ryan's running. But maybe Ryan's most interesting challenger? Waka Flocka Flame.

Overall, it looks like Ryan has a pretty smooth road to the speakership.