Speaker Paul Ryan’s announced plans to retire from Congress at the end of his term is a massive blow to Republicans fighting to maintain control of the House, political insiders said Wednesday.
Citing unnamed sources, the Washington Examiner
said Ryan’s departure in January is damaging for party morale as the GOP faces what is already expected to be a tough midterm. In addition, Ryan, R-Wis., raises millions of dollars for GOP House candidates and sources question whether his decision to leave will leave them short of the necessary resources to fight the Democrats.
“The timing and execution of his decision is a borderline disaster for the conference and the party,” an unnamed senior Republican strategist told the Examiner.
“It sends a terrible message at a terrible time. We are at a critical time of fundraising for members, candidates, the (National Republican Congressional Committee) and outside organizations. For our most prolific fundraiser to announce his decision now makes an already difficult job more difficult. It creates a tremendous void.”
Meanwhile, ABC News speculates that Ryan might have conceded the House to the Democrats.
“This is historic for a speaker to essentially fold in the face of midterm headwinds,” a senior aide with Democratic House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s office told the network news.
The aide predicted Ryan’s decision will be “a morale buster” for Republicans and could lead to even more GOP retirements.
The Democrats need to win 24 seats to win back control of the House, ABC News noted.
“Ryan certainly believes we’ll take back the House, and he’s admitting his tax scam is as toxic as we’ve been saying all along,” Tyler Law, a spokesperson for the Democratic Campaign Congressional Committee told ABC.
“Unfortunately, for the many vulnerable House Republicans that Paul Ryan is abandoning, his historically unpopular and failed policies will hang over their re-elections like a dark cloud," Law added in comments to USA Today. “Stay tuned for more retirements as Republicans increasingly realize that their midterm prospects are doomed.”
But Ryan downplayed the impact of his announcement on the midterms.
“I gave it some consideration,” he said. "But I really do not believe whether I stay or go in 2018 is going to affect a person’s individual race for Congress … If we do our jobs, which we are, we are going to be fine as a majority.”
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