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More Republicans Join Speakership Race as Paul Ryan’s Nascent Campaign Falls Apart on the Runway


Several Republicans who aren’t as closely associated with outgoing House Speaker John Boehner as House Ways and Means Committee chairman Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) are considering running for Speaker as Ryan’s nascent campaign is crumbling before it even begins.

The two who have, at this time, the most likely ability to unite the GOP conference and achieve well more than the necessary 218 votes on the House floor are House Energy and Commerce Committee vice chairwoman Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) and former House Chief Deputy Whip Rep. Peter Roskam (R-IL). Other Republicans like Reps. Matt Salmon (R-AZ), Ryan Zinke (R-MT), Lynn Westmoreland (R-GA), and even current non-House member former Speaker Newt Gingrich are considering bids. More names than those have been tossed out, too.


“Marsha has heard from a lot of people who are encouraging her to run,” Blackburn spokesman Mike Reynard told Breitbart News on Friday. “Right now she is listening and having conversations with her colleagues about what is the best way to unite our conference moving forward.”

Blackburn, who would if elected be the first female GOP Speaker of the House ever, will be joining Breitbart News Sunday on SiriusXM Patriot Ch. 125 on Sunday evening to discuss this topic in greater depth.

A House GOP aide also confirmed to Breitbart News that Roskam is considering a bid for the Speakership. A former member of leadership, he lost the bid for House Majority Whip to current Whip Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) after former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor was driven out of Congress. Roskam was supported in that bid by conservatives like Rep. Steve King (R-IA), the chairman of the Conservative Opportunity Society, because he was pledging not to back any amnesty bill while Scalise wouldn’t make such a pledge. Roskam also has something unique to his résumé: He is the only current GOP member of Congress to have served in the Illinois state Senate opposite Barack Obama, which would allow him to detail how he’s fought Obama and won before and how he plans to do it again in the House leadership.

Unlike Ryan, who the conservative base universally despises–thanks to his backing of amnesty, reflected in the endorsement for the Speakership from Democrat amnesty king Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL)–both Roskam and Blackburn are viewed as consensus candidates who could unite the GOP.

Sources close to Zinke also confirm to Breitbart News that members of the House GOP conference have encouraged him to run for Speaker, citing his experience assembling elite Navy SEAL units. Zinke is a freshman from Montana and former Commander at SEAL Team Six. It would be difficult for a freshman member to win the speakership, but these are certainly interesting times. And given the craziness of everything going on in the House, somebody like Zinke—who literally called Hillary Clinton the “anti-Christ” on the campaign trail and, before it was in vogue, supported building a wall on the U.S. border with Mexico for national security reasons—could get the House focused back on what conservatives want it focused on: exposing the president and fighting as hard as Republicans can.

Ryan’s already having problems reaching 218 votes, and even Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-SC)—one of the only conservatives who opposed Boehner continuing in his job and opposed current Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s ascension who seems open to Ryan’s ascension—admits that Ryan currently has a 218-vote problem just like Boehner and McCarthy did.

“I think we get close,” Mulvaney replied when asked by Face The Nation’s John Dickerson whether Ryan has enough support to get over the finish line right now.

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), the chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, spoke favorably of Ryan as a person on Fox News Sunday as well but made the case that Ryan would need to agree to substantial reforms and decentralization of power in the House. Ryan has yet to agree to any substantial changes whatsoever—and has frequently and repeatedly supported Boehner’s collection of power in the Speaker’s office.

In fact, Ryan—back in 2012 as the House Budget Committee chairman, right after the election—was the first committee chairman to engage in retaliation against conservatives. Because Reps. Tim Huelskamp (R-KS) and Justin Amash (R-MI) voted against Ryan’s budget, Boehner and Ryan moved in early December 2012 to remove the two of them from the House Budget Committee. That kicked off a process that led to the almost successful first effort to take down Boehner as Speaker on the floor of the House of Representatives. That was the first of three coup attempts and it all happened because Ryan helped Boehner retaliate against conservatives. Obviously, it would lead to more retaliation against over the coming years, a second nearly successful coup attempt against Boehner and a finally successful coup attempt against Boehner led by Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) on the floor of the House.

Ryan would also, as several conservatives have pointed out, support amnesty for illegal aliens and open border policies. He has for years championed the cause of the open-borders left wing, violating the principle requirements of a next Speaker of the House as put forward by Rep. David Brat (R-VA). Number three on Brat’s list of principles the next speaker should support is: “Support policies that secure the border and enable interior enforcement while opposing amnesty for illegal immigrants.” Ryan is adamantly opposed to those policies. Ryan’s championing of the Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP) bank bailout in 2008 would violate Brat’s fourth principle: “Urge all committees to advance agendas based on limited government, economic opportunity, and fiscal responsibility.”

Several senior House conservative aides have told Breitbart News that they expect there would be a concerted, public and organized effort to take Ryan down on the floor should he run for Speaker—just like there was with Boehner and McCarthy. Ryan faces the same problems as McCarthy did—and conservatives aren’t going to agree to a coronation for him. Most conservatives, while they think of Ryan as a “nice guy” who they can “talk to,” view him as part of the same cabal they are trying to throw out: Boehner’s team.

“Just what I know from the McCarthy possibility, is that it could if it accompanied an actual conservative Majority Leader/whip/etc and reforms to the House Rules to limit the power of the speakership,” one aide said of what Ryan would have to do to ascend. “That was McCarthy’s only chance but he bowed out before it was possible.”

Despite his portrayal by the media as being conservative, most actual conservatives in the House know that Ryan isn’t a conservative. He’s served as a leadership envoy to conservatives for the past many years but has really been a champion of big government. In addition to helping Boehner retaliate against conservatives, he’s helped push through President Barack Obama’s Obamatrade agenda, he pushed through a budget deal with Sen. Patty Murray (R-WA) that busted through spending caps set by the Budget Control Act while claiming they didn’t bust through those caps, and he’s pushed through the Doc Fix bill that increased the national debt. He’s done all of that and more by misleading conservatives in the House.

Most other conservative members who opposed Boehner and wouldn’t get behind McCarthy won’t support Ryan, staffers for them tell Breitbart News. It’s important to note that Mulvaney and Jordan were both originally unsupportive of Meadows’ effort to remove Boehner as Speaker—Mulvaney eventually publicly backed Meadows but Jordan never did—so the idea that either speaks for the entire conservative wing of the party just isn’t accurate. The number of Republicans opposed to Boehner was well more than 30—the bare minimum to force him to lose his job or rely on Democrats to stay—and the number that didn’t immediately line up behind McCarthy was as high as 50 maybe more. Some sources estimate that McCarthy only had 190 votes locked up—meaning that he would have lost nearly 60 Republicans, and would have failed to get the Speakership. Even if a handful of those who were against McCarthy go to Ryan, Ryan would still have an extraordinarily tough road to hoe to get to 218 votes.

So, with all that said, what would Ryan have to give up to get to 218 votes? Would he have to promise no amnesty against his personal principles? Would he need to promise no more TARP bailouts against his personal principles? Would he have to decentralize power away from the Speaker’s office against his personal history? Would he have to agree to stop Speaker-of-the-House retaliation against conservatives—or anyone, really—for voting their conscience, like he helped Boehner do? Ryan would probably need to agree to all of those things, and that’s likely to make him uncomfortable—not to mention the harsh fundraising schedule he’d have to keep, something his young family doesn’t want. So, since Ryan isn’t going to be coronated, there’s certainly going to be a fight on the floor if he does run, and it’s at least at this time looking likely—for the same reasons Boehner and McCarthy lost their races for Speaker—that Ryan won’t get to 218, why would he throw away his appearance of relevancy in the political world by risking it all on a gamble election for the Speakership? If Ryan ran and lost, he’d almost certainly have to resign from Congress. If he ran and won, those who voted for him—especially from conservative districts—would nearly certainly face drastic consequences at the polls down the road for risking it all by voting for a pro-amnesty, Luis Gutierrez-backed Paul Ryan.

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