Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) never wanted to be Speaker of the House. He was quite happy being the Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee. House Majority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) was pegged as outgoing Speaker John Boehner’s successor up until the moment he backed out of the leadership race, which threw the whole process into chaos. Now, Ryan said he’d run, but only if his conditions were met, namely a show of support from the various factions within the House GOP, according to the Washington Post. This includes the moderate Tuesday Group, and the conservative Republican Study Committee and House Freedom Caucus.
Tonight, unlike Rep. McCarthy, Ryan was able to clinch 70 percent of the 40-member House Freedom Caucus. Theoretically, Ryan has the votes, so, in the words of CJ Cregg, he could move the goalpost and claim victory (via CNN):
Rep. Paul Ryan has enough support from a key group of House conservatives to be the next speaker -- if he still wants the job.
In a closed-door session, more than 70% of the House Freedom Caucus voted in favor of Ryan's candidacy. But that is short of the 80% needed for an official endorsement, something Ryan has demanded.
Ryan has said all along he wants to be the "unity" candidate for House speaker. He met Wednesday with the Freedom Caucus -- the group of roughly 40 conservatives who were instrumental in driving out Speaker John Boehner and throwing the leadership race into disarray.
Ryan told them in private what he's been telling everyone in public: he wasn't going to beg for their vote. Ryan wants to be the consensus pick to be speaker, and if the Freedom Caucus wants to get in his way, he'll let them.
Mulvaney tells reporters that Ryan "has the votes" to win comfortably on the floor, hopes Ryan stays in race, most of HFC w/ him— Robert Costa (@costareports) October 21, 2015
The Post's Robert Costa tweeted that Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-SC), who is a member of the Tea Party Caucus, the House Freedom Caucus, and the Republican Study Committee, said that Ryan has the votes. Rep. Raul Labrador (R-ID) said Ryan will get “a show of support,” which was one of his conditions, and that a “supermajority” would back his leaning yes/sort of position regarding his speakership bid (via Roll Call):
Labrador said the “show of support” was not the same as a formal “endorsement” because the HFC did not meet its necessary 80 percent threshold, as it previously did with Rep. Daniel Webster, R-Fla. However, he suggested the Webster endorsement could now be moot with a supermajority now prepared to back Ryan.
For those of you worried about Ryan supporting a comprehensive immigration plan, which includes a pathway to citizenship–as he did in February of 2013–have no fear; he’s not going to move on the issue an inch as long as Obama is president.
This vote was within three or four votes. That's pretty thin. The House Freedom Caucus is close to endorsing Paul Ryan, but not enough.— Matt Fuller (@MEPFuller) October 21, 2015
Last Note: It seems Ryan is moving ahead with his speakership bid, according to Politico. Also, don't forget to read Guy's post, which elaborated more on Ryan's conditions and how he's in a strong position for the top spot in the House, which he never wanted.
UPDATE: RSC pulls for Ryan.
Annnnnd Ryan wins endorsement from RSC, the last of the three contingents he needed behind him to run for Speaker.— Emma Dumain (@Emma_Dumain) October 22, 2015