Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan announced on 22 October his candidacy to become the next US House speaker following the support of key Republicans. The announcement ends weeks of doubt within the GOP of who would take over in the wake of Speaker John Boehner's resignation last month.
"I never thought I'd be speaker. But I pledge to you that if I could be a unifying figure, then I would serve — I would go all in," Ryan wrote in a letter to his colleagues. "After talking with so many of you, and hearing your words of encouragement, I believe we are ready to move forward as one, united team. And I am ready and eager to be our speaker."
Ryan's announcement arrives a day after the majority of the House Freedom Caucus pledged they would support him. Members of the GOP caucus include those who have been in constant conflict with party leadership, The Washington Post reported. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who was originally slated to run before dropping out on 8 October, said Ryan was in "very strong shape" to grab the position.
Prior to agreeing to run, Ryan proposed conditions under which he would be persuaded to launch a bid for the speakership. The Post reported that those conditions included the backing of the entire House Republican Conference.
In his letter, Ryan was not shy of placing some of the blame for the partisan fighting on the GOP. "Washington is falling short — including the House of Representatives. We are not solving the country's problems; we are only adding to them," he wrote.
Ryan also called for a reform to a procedural rule that threatened Boehner's speakership stability known as a "motion to vacate the chair." He wrote: "We have an opportunity to turn the page, to start with a clean slate, and to rebuild what has been lost. We can make the House a more open and inclusive body — one where every member can contribute to the legislative process. We can rally House Republicans around a bold agenda that will tackle the country's problems head on. And we can show the country what a commonsense conservative agenda looks like."
According to NBC News, Ryan's announcement leaves little doubt that the 45-year-old will become the next speaker of the House at the end of the month. Speaker Boehner scheduled the vote for his successor for 29 October, a day before his intended resignation.