Ryan, from Janesville, Wis., was first elected to Congress in 1998. "What was the surprise was that he was announcing it before the election..."
Another potential rival, Rep. Mark Meadows of North Carolina, a member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, demurred when asked if he'd pursue the speaker's job.
They include prominent traditionalists like Senator Bob Corker, congressmen Ed Royce, Bob Goodlatte, and centrists Charlie Dent and Dave Reichert.
Over his two and a half year tenure, Ryan has vacillated between a leader with grandiose, seemingly concrete personal and political beliefs, and a politician lacking a backbone, the conviction to successfully craft and defend policy and the stomach to stand up to a president who has been anything but easy to work alongside. A leadership contest, most likely featuring Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California and Majority Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana, will soon ensue unless the latter decides to defer to the former's seniority. Wisconsin House Speaker Robin Vos, who has championed Republican Gov. Scott Walker's agenda, decided not to run.
Dent is among the ranks of retiring Republicans, and that status has led him to become much more blunt than many of his colleagues about how Trump has scrambled the GOP's identity and electoral prospects.
Control of the House was already at risk in a tough midterm election.
Any ambitious House leader could help his or her cause by agreeing to the conservatives' demands, in part a response to the huge deficit expansion created by the spending deal and December's Republican tax overhaul package.
King tried to get Ryan to throw the president under the bus, asking him if "Trump fatigue" played a role in his decision to not run for reelection.
"When I look at that picture, Mr. Speaker, I have to say, I don't see anyone that looks like me in terms of color or gender", King told Ryan. He has hauled in $54 million so far this election cycle. "It's just another issue that's floating out there, and obviously there's going to be some competition for his successor". "Donors who are committed to making sure Republicans hold onto the majority will do whatever they have to do to make that happen", he said.
Democrat Randy Bryce, an ironworker who has cultivated the "IronStache" moniker, had been Ryan's best-known challenger, drawing liberal support from around the country. Bernie Sanders and NARAL Pro-Choice America, faces a Democratic primary challenge from Janesville teacher Cathy Myers. He had almost $2.3 million in the bank at the end of the first quarter. "But maybe this year that's not good enough", Wisconsin-based Democratic pollster Paul Maslin said.
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