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What Conservative Lawmakers Think About Paul Ryan Running For Speaker

By Alex Pappas | The Daily Caller

WASHINGTON — Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan is being pressed by Republicans to run for speaker of the House. But what do the conservatives who helped push majority leader Kevin McCarthy out of the race think about a Ryan speakership?

“I think that Paul Ryan would be a more acceptable candidate than the current leadership team — primarily because he’s not in the current leadership team,” acknowledged Michigan Rep. Justin Amash, a member of the House Freedom Caucus. “I believe he’d provide a different approach. But we don’t have him as a candidate right now and we’ve endorsed Daniel Webster.”

Asked Friday morning as he entered a meeting of the Republican members of the House if he’s thinking about running for speaker, Ryan replied: “I’ve got nothing new to say.”

Ryan, the 2012 Republican vice presidential nominee, has repeatedly declined to run for leadership. But Ryan has been asked by a number of Republicans, including outgoing speaker John Boehner, to reconsider his decision in the wake of McCarthy withdrawing from the race.

On Friday, Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz told reporters he would drop out of the speaker’s race if Ryan decided to run. South Carolina Rep. Trey Gowdy, the chairman of the House Benghazi committee who has also declined to run, said he would back Ryan “100 percent” if he ran.

Gowdy, who is not a member of the Freedom Caucus, said he thought Ryan could win the support of the most conservative lawmakers if he decided to mount a campaign. “Yeah, I think Paul can get everybody,” he said.

McCarthy, the current majority leader, had been believed to likely win the party’s nomination in Thursday’s closed-door vote, but his fate was less certain heading into the Oct. 29 speaker election of the full House of Representatives as the GOP conference’s nominee. The House Freedom Caucus had signaled they might vote for someone other than McCarthy in order to prevent him from winning the necessary 218 votes to actually become speaker.

McCarthy entered the Thursday meeting and shocked Republicans by saying he had decided to drop out of the race. Boehner announced that the vote would be postponed.

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