Paul Ryan will not seek re-election to Congress

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He later briefly thanked Trump in public for giving him the chance to move GOP ideas ahead. The two have not had a close working relationship.

Ryan dismissed concerns that his retirement may affect Republican efforts to keep its majority in the House.

"Sometimes when someone is leaving they become more bold and not less", Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), head of the arch-conservative House Freedom Caucus, told reporters. "They won't wait for nine months". Majority Whip Steve Scalise is viewed as the likely alternative, and his team noted Thursday that he, too, had broken first-quarter fundraising records, hauling in $3 million.

Meadows demurred when asked if he'd pursue the speaker's job. "You're really in a no-win position if you're running in this cycle", he said, calling it a "pretty damn toxic political environment". The House Republican majority and Trump himself may well be wrecked by the president's unscrupulous impulsiveness. For months the speaker has battled rumors about his retirement.

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Casey notes that numerous Republicans choosing to leave Washington right now are more moderate on the political spectrum. Several others have resigned in personal scandals.

In a daring speech on the Senate floor last October, Republican Senator Jeff Flake warned that the coarseness of the Trump era was becoming the "new normal" - a flash of "destructive politics" that could set the conservative cause back a generation. "We all know that", Dent said. "This is not an easy administration to be dealing with".

The rest of the Golden State's Republican congressional delegation could benefit from McCarthy's coattails. Both men spoke at the closed-door meeting Wednesday, delivering tributes to Ryan, and both attended a GOP leadership dinner Wednesday night with Trump at the White House. "It's just another issue that's floating out there, and obviously there's going to be some competition for his successor".

Ryan's allies insist the party's top fundraiser and champion of a crisp GOP message remains in full force.

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"It's like Eisenhower resigning right before D-Day", said Tom Davis, a former Republican congressman from Virginia who once headed the House GOP's campaign committee. Steil did not immediately return an email seeking comment. He had almost $2.3 million in the bank at the end of the first quarter. Bernie Sanders and NARAL Pro-Choice America, faces a Democratic primary challenge from Janesville teacher Cathy Myers.

The only declared Republicans so far are white supremacist Paul Nehlen, who was banned from Twitter earlier this year for a series of posts criticized as racist and anti-Semitic, and Nick Polce, an Army veteran who co-owns a security-consulting firm. Rep. Kevin McCarthy, the majority leader, is seen as a leading contender.

"Despite our differences, I commend his steadfast commitment to our country", she said in a statement.

Now that the speaker is unchained from a mercurial president who tries the patience of even his friends, will Ryan spend his remaining time in office speaking his mind, as other retiring members are doing? His study of conservative economics, under the mentorship of the late Rep. Jack Kemp, and his ability to articulate his views and master the minutiae of policy made him a Wonk with a capital "W".

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