House Speaker Paul Ryan won’t seek re-election in November, according to people familiar with his plans, dealing a blow to congressional Republicans already facing a possible Democratic takeover of the House in the November elections and setting off a GOP leadership battle.
Ryan’s retirement had been the subject of rumors in the halls of Congress for months and the Wisconsin Republican has given only vague answers when he was asked about his plans. After passage of Ryan’s long-sought tax overhaul late last year, the speaker clashed with President Donald Trump over his planned tariffs.
His departure sets up a battle for control of the chamber. Among likely contenders are Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California, Majority Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana, and North Carolina’s Mark Meadows, a leading voice of the conservative Freedom Caucus.
It comes as recent special elections that reaped Democrats an Alabama Senate seat and a House seat in Pennsylvania hint at a building anti-GOP wave that may overturn the party’s majority in Congress.
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Ryan’s plans were reported earlier by Axios. He took the speaker’s post in late 2015 after fellow Republican John Boehner stepped aside and his heir apparent — McCarthy — abruptly dropped out of the race to replace him.