Paul Ryan: Why I Didn't Run for Cantor's Leadership Post

Image: Paul Ryan: Why I Didn't Run for Cantor's Leadership Post

Tuesday, 17 Jun 2014 09:33 AM

By Drew MacKenzie

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House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan has revealed why he turned down overtures from Speaker John Boehner and other leading Republicans to seek the position of House majority leader.

The Wisconsin Republican said that the position would have entailed too much traveling away from his young family, The Washington Post reported, while noting that Ryan has aspirations to chair the Ways and Means Committee.

After Rep. Eric Cantor’s stunning defeat in Virginia, California Rep. Kevin McCarthy, the majority whip, is favored to win the House majority leader spot during a vote on Thursday against tea party conservative Rep. Raul Labrador of Idaho.

Ryan has revealed that Boehner called him soon after Cantor was beaten by tea party insurgent David Brat to ask whether he would be interested in the majority leader post. But he quickly declined.

"I’ve had this question posed to me before, John included, and my answer has been consistent," Ryan, 44, told the Post. "There was a vacuum, but I know myself very well, and in my gut, I’m just not looking to be that guy. If I wanted to be in elected leadership, I would have run for it years ago."

Another reason for his reluctance is that it would take him away from his wife and kids too often.

"Leadership jobs demand lots of extra travel that I don’t want to do," he said. "I have a young family, and we live in Janesville, Wisconsin, and I spend all my non-session time there. That’s where I want to be, with my 9-, 11-, 12-year-olds at home."

Ryan, who was Mitt Romney’s GOP running mate in the 2012 presidential election, said that even being vice president "would have been more family friendly."

The Journal noted that although Ryan hopes in the short term to become the chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, he has not ruled out the possibility of running for the White House in 2016.

"You never say never to a thing in the future," he said. "We’ll cross bridges when we come to them, but my response about the leadership has always been the same."

Ryan was disappointed when his friend, Rep. Jeb Hensarling of Texas, dropped out of the leadership contest, and hopes that one day he will take over the job.

"Jeb and I spoke quite a bit over the past week about our policy aspirations and ended up making the same decision," said Ryan, who has now endorsed McCarthy instead. "It’s no secret he’s one of my best friends in Congress, and I think he’d be a great House leader, whenever it’s right for him."

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