House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) announced Wednesday he would not seek re-election in November, signaling that Republicans may have a more difficult time maintaining their Congressional majority through the midterm elections.
Ryan’s decision took his Republican colleagues and Democratic opponents by surprise, though he reminded reporters Wednesday he agreed to take up the Speaker’s job in 2015 “reluctantly.”
“I have given this job everything I have,” he said, according to the Associated Press. “We’re going to have a great record to run on.”
Ryan said he decided not to run again to spend more time with his three teenage children, who live in the same Wisconsin town in which Ryan grew up.
He will serve until the end of his term, in January.
His decision not to seek reelection will likely ignite the campaign for his Wisconsin seat and could swell the wave of Republican lawmakers deciding not to run, said Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ).
“When the captain of the football team quits the game halfway through, gives you a good indication of how the rest of the game is going to go,” Gallego told Cheddar. “He knows he’s going to be a minority leader next year.”
“I think Republicans should really be worried about the tsunami that’s coming,” Gallego added.
After Ryan’s announcement, Rep. Dennis Ross (R-FL) announced he would retire after eight terms in the House.
More than 40 Republicans have announced that they won’t run in 2018, either because they’re retiring or seeking other office. Democrats need 24 seats to take back control of the House for the first time since 2011.
Republicans’ chances of maintaining their majority have been hurt by growing voter dissatisfaction and President Trump’s low approval ratings -- around 40 percent in recent polls.
Gallego, who represents Arizona’s 7th district, criticized Trump’s policies, especially his proposed border wall.
Funding for the wall was excluded from the recent $1.3 billion bipartisan spending bill the president signed, frustrating Trump. Instead, he suggested sending up to 4,000 National Guard troops to the southern border with Mexico, though they will not have the authority to make arrests or “perform law enforcement duties.” The governors of California, Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona have all agreed to send the National Guard.
Gallego criticized the president, saying he was using the National Guard as “a prop” in a political debate.
“There is no emergency,” Gallego said. “There’s no reason you call up the National Guard and call it a crisis, just so you can boost up your poll numbers.”
Last December, the arrests of illegal immigrants trying to cross into the U.S. dipped to the lowest level since 1971.
For the full interview, click here.