Senior Aide Leaves Paul Ryan as Signs of Trouble Riddle Establishment Republicans

Paul Ryan
AP/Cliff OwenHouse

WASHINGTON, D.C. — A senior aide to House Speaker Paul Ryan is leaving and moving to the Senate.

The news of Matt Hoffman’s departure from Ryan’s office came on the heels of an announcement from Republican Senate leaders that they would set aside efforts to fulfill campaign promises to repeal Obamacare. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s office had previously set a vote on the Graham-Cassidy Obamacare rollback for this week, but on Tuesday, leadership revealed that they did not have the votes and would put it aside to work on tax reform.

In a statement regarding Hoffmann’s departure that was issued on Wednesday, Ryan recalled Hoffmann taking the position as his legislative assistant in 2006. Since then Ryan has done “all I could to ensure he stayed close to our journey,” according to his statement. “From the Budget Committee to Ways and Means, and now in the Speaker’s office, Matt has played a major hand in the work I’m most proud of. He’s helped forge key bipartisan solutions. And he’s been a tireless advocate for patient-centered policies to improve our broken health care system,” said Ryan.

Hoffmann it taking a position leading policy operations for the Senate Finance Committee.

Establishment Sen. Bob Corker announced on Tuesday that he would not seek re-election in 2018. Breitbart News Editor-in-Chief Alex Marlow, speaking on the issue of primary challenges, told the Hill this week, “I think Corker backing out sends a strong signal that there are going to be people who say it’s just not worth the fight.”

Tuesday also marked the win of grassroots candidate Judge Roy Moore over the Mitch McConnell-backed candidate in Alabama’s primary runoff election for what was Jeff Sessions’ seat in the U.S. Senate. Breitbart News Executive Chairman Stephen K. Bannon deemed the race a battle of “grassroots muscle” versus “corporate money.”

Ryan primary challenger Paul Nehlen used the Moore win to suggest that Ryan is “beatable”:

The McConnell-linked Senate Leadership Fund spent millions upon millions backing Moore’s opponent Luther Strange and opposing Moore. Early analysis of the race indicates $15-30 million was spent to push Strange,compared to $1-2 million to back the victor, Moore. Moore emerged victorious by about ten points over Strange despite the massive funding disparity and a Strange pre-primary election endorsement from President Donald Trump, who rallied for Strange in Alabama last Friday.

Even at the rally, Trump suggested he may have made a mistake endorsing Strange and that if Moore won, Trump would be “campaigning like hell” for Moore in the general election. Moore was fervently supported by a host of Trump voters, current and former Trump Administration officials, and a strong list of conservative leaders.

Nehlen has challenged Ryan for his seat in Congress in the past and on Wednesday asked for support to challenge Ryan yet again.

Politico reported on the significance of the Alabama primary runoff ahead of election results coming in on Tuesday, stating that the GOP establishment feared a Moore win “could trigger a wave of primary challenges against incumbent Republicans.” The report went on, “With Strange on the ropes and time running out, the party has launched a coordinated, scorched-earth campaign to take down Moore.” Ultimately Moore took the day in a big way.

Earlier this month, establishment Republican Rep. Charlie Dent also announced that he would not seek re-election in 2018. Dent has been co-chair of the moderate “Tuesday Group” in congress. The announcement came after Pennsylvania State Rep. Justin Simmons would challenge Dent in a primary election.

At a rally for Moore less than a week before runoff election day, former Alaska Governor and 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin predicted that a Moore win would inspire more grassroots candidates to “rise up and take on their own Swamp creatures in their own states.”

Follow Michelle Moons on Twitter @MichelleDiana 


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