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Minnesota GOP Candidates Won’t Pledge Support for House Speaker Paul Ryan

Ryan with Gavel JIM WATSONAFPGetty Images
JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images
PENNY STARR

House Speaker Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) leadership could be in jeopardy, but not from his colleagues in the 115th Congress.

The challenge could come from Republicans elected in the 2018 mid-term election, in this case House candidates from Minnesota.

This news came from a state fair in Minnesota where a journalist asked five Republicans a simple question: “Do you plan to vote against Paul D. Ryan continuing his speakership?”

“Republicans seeking to flip House seats next year declined to support the speaker of the House, offering instead criticisms of Paul D. Ryan’s leadership,” the Washington Post reported on Wednesday.

“I think he’s going in the wrong direction,” said state Rep. Tim Miller. “We’ve got to have leadership that ensures we do the will of the people.’

“I would prefer someone else,” said commercial pilot Dave Hughes.

“We’ll see who runs for speaker,” businessman and candidate Jim Hagedorn said. “Until then, you have to be very cautious about what you do. A lot can happen in a year and a half,”

“When I’m in Congress, I’ll let you know, because people can change their views, change their ways,” said St. Louis County Commissioner Pete Stauber, who later said he would back Ryan if he runs again.

Asked about the video of the fairground discussion, National Republican Congressional Committee spokesman Jesse Hunt said that House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s unpopularity helped Republicans win 2017’s four competitive special elections.

A Ryan-allied super PAC, the Congressional Leadership Fund, also plowed millions of dollars into three of those races, according to the Post.

Hunt defended Ryan when asked about his future speakership.

“Speaker Ryan has been instrumental in the passage of key House legislative items and the successful election of four new Republican members in 2017,” Hunt said. “We’re thankful for his leadership.”

A Huffington Post poll, though, shows Ryan’s unfavorable rating at 49.3 percent, with only 29.9 percent having a favorable opinion of the Speaker —- in keeping with a downward trend since President Donald Trump was elected.

Rep. Tim Walz’s (D-Minn.) decision to run for governor in 2018 opened up his House seat, which Hagedorn is hoping to fill.

“The other candidates on the stage in Minnesota are fighting to face Democratic incumbents in the 7th and 8th districts, which Trump won by 30.8 and 15.6 points,” the Post reported.

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