As Congress returns from a week away from Washington, D.C., Republicans still aren’t sure what’s next in the search for a new Speaker of the House, as GOP lawmakers keep waiting to see whether Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) will launch an official bid for that post in coming days.
“Paul Ryan open to running for speaker,” bellowed the headline on a CBS news story on Sunday, again showcasing that it’s still not clear what the Wisconsin Republican is going to do.
One veteran Republican Congressman told me Sunday night that he had no idea what decision Ryan would make.
When asked about the odds of Ryan running for Speaker, another GOP lawmaker told me on Sunday that he gauged it as 40 percent Ryan would run, and 60 percent he would not.
“I believe it drops to 30 tomorrow,” the lawmaker added, though he acknowledged many others in the GOP seem to believe that Ryan will swoop in to grab the job as Speaker in coming days.
Some more conservative Republicans still aren’t excited by the idea of Paul Ryan as their leader – and that was clear on Meet the Press, when Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) wouldn’t say if he thinks Paul Ryan is really a conservative.
“Oh, that’s a decision for House Republicans to make and for the American people to make,” Cruz said in an interview with NBC’s Chuck Todd.
While Cruz wouldn’t publicly embrace Ryan, other Republicans have also made it clear they’re staying away from Ryan right now as well, rallying behind the long shot candidacy of Rep. Dan Webster (R-FL).
“I endorsed Webster and until Webster tells me he’s not running, I’m sticking with him,” said Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R-OK) before he left town earlier this month.
Bridenstine’s office reinforced his support for Webster in recent days by sending reporters the press contact information for Webster’s office – just in case they needed it.
Webster and Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) remain the only openly declared candidates for Speaker on the Republican side.
At this time, Speaker John Boehner has not set new elections to elect his replacement.
Boehner has said he wants to leave the Congress on October 30.