Paul Ryan is quitting like a coward

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In House Speaker Paul Ryan's hometown of Janesville, residents are reacting to his surprise announcement.

Which is why it's so puzzling that the speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, Paul Ryan, abruptly announced that he will not be running for re-election and will willingly forfeit his position as the highest-ranking member of the House.

"Let's get aggressive", Jordan told reporters just hours after Ryan said Wednesday that he would quit Congress at the end of 2018, setting up an internal struggle to replace him. One senior White House official declined show a favorite right now for the future speaker.

"If I'm here for one more term my kids will only ever have known me as a weekend dad", he told reporters. "When I look at that picture, I have to say, I don't feel very celebratory".

Axios news site first reported the news on Wednesday. "So I will be setting new priorities in my life", he said.

The front-runner to lead House Republicans is House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, though his rise is far from certain. Both men spoke at the private meeting Wednesday, delivering tributes to Ryan. "We have accomplished so much at the state level and I look forward to ensuring Wisconsin continues down that path. Unemployment is at an all-time low, the tax burden is the lowest it has been in decades, and our schools remain strong". "Not in fact, but probably in practicality".

With the 2016 election of rampantly conservative President Donald Trump, Ryan had all of the necessary tools at his disposal - a Republican majority in the House and the Senate, a Republican president jumping at the bit to overhaul fundamental, liberal institutions in the federal system, and a conservative-leaning Supreme Court to back any legislation that could pose legal problems.

A self-styled budget expert, Ryan had made the tax cuts Congress delivered previous year a centerpiece of his small-government agenda and a personal cause, even though they helped skyrocket projected annual deficits toward $1 trillion.

Ryan expressed gratitude for having served as leader of the House Republican Conference since 2015, a post he reluctantly took after his predecessor, John Boehner, departed under pressure from a conservatives. He was former GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney's running mate in 2012.

In Wisconsin, the most likely Republican candidate for Ryan's seat is state Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, multiple Republicans in the state said.

While many candidates will likely emerge in the coming months, the biggest name now eyeing Ryan's seat is Paul Nehlen-a fringe political contender previously supported by Breitbart who openly endorses white supremacy.

From this perspective, Ryan's retirement is an effect rather than a cause of electoral agony for his party.

"Despite our differences, I commend his steadfast commitment to our country", she said in a statement. And though his retirement will change things for Republicans, I don't see the decision as bailing out or jumping ship, as some in the media have gleefully suggested.