Paul Ryan hints at whom he'd back to replace him as speaker

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But the timing may also signal that Ryan didn't see himself long for the role of House speaker anyway: "If you're a betting person, you're betting on the Democrats for the House in the fall", Chris Christie, New Jersey's former Republican governor, told ABC News.

Ryan's move left Republicans scrambling over not only who would replace him, but whether he can stick around until January, as he planned.

Tim Stowe, chairman of the Frederick County Republican Committee, and Bob Hess, chairman of the Winchester Republican Committee, said they don't put much stock in reports of a political "enthusiasm gap" between Democrats and Republicans, with Democrats perceived as being more organized and energized than Republicans since the election of Republican President Donald Trump in 2016.

The party is already facing an uphill battle to retain control of the House of Representatives.

Because the next two in line are running against each other essentially right now, that means all five of the top Republican leadership spots in the House are up for grabs.

On some level the impact is symbolic.

PBS Newshour: The Legacy Of Paul Ryan - "When his predecessor, John Boehner, stepped down as the speaker of the House in 2015, Paul Ryan did not want the job".

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Ryan said they were celebrating the accomplishments they'd had and the agenda they're working on, such as health care and infrastructure bills. These findings are similar to CNN's December poll results based on party identification, in which 12% of Democrats and 66% of Republicans viewed Ryan favorably.

On Thursday, Ryan dismissed any chatter that maybe it would be best if he stepped aside early.

Janna Ryan was doing some shopping in downtown Janesville, Ryan's hometown, Wednesday soon after Ryan discussed his decision at a Washington news conference. The speaker said that if he served another term, his children would only know him as a "weekend dad". "There is nobody who has come close to being able to raise the kind of funds I have - and still can raise - for this majority".

Bryce had raised a staggering amount of money for a House challenger, thanks in part to his national profile garnered from a viral introduction video and the fact that he is taking one of the most powerful Republicans. He says they'll always be grateful for Ryan's "partnership and support". Wednesday, the Republican from Wisconsin, in what must be a shock to his fellow GOP colleagues, said he believed he had "set us on a better course".

"Losing Speaker Ryan's leadership and passion for these issues will nearly certainly make the road to these reforms longer and more hard", Dean Rosen, who works at the lobbying firm Mehlman, Castagnetti, Rosen & Thomas, told Bloomberg Law.

"So when I look at that picture, I have to say, I don't feel very celebratory, I feel very excluded", added King, who is black. Another GOP donor said he hasn't heard those concerns. "The central thematic still remains: The American people simply do not want Nancy Pelosi to be the speaker".

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