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GOP Said to Be Giving Up on House After Ryan's Announcement, Want to Save Senate
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12 Apr 2018 04:19 PM EST

By Laura Tucker, Staff Writer; Image: Paul Ryan as Speaker of the House (Image Source: Public Domain)

 

Sure, Paul Ryan's friends in the House hate to see him go next January, after his announcement on Wednesday that he was retiring, but more than that they hate to possibly lose leverage in Congress. Sources are saying the GOP is giving up on the House and are just trying to save their majority in the Senate.

Ryan (R-Wis.) has been the Speaker of the House since 2015. Republicans thought they'd have it easy during Trump's tenure in the White House with a majority in the Senate, a majority in the House of Representatives, and a Conservative as POTUS.

However, things have not gone swimmingly for them. They worked hard to try and push a health reform bill through last year and never got anywhere with it, not being able to get the votes they needed for it. Additionally, they've been dogged with a high turnover rate in the administration and an investigation into a possible collusion with Russia during the election.

Finally, they passed a tax reform bill last December. It's the only thing they accomplished in that first year, other than turning over nearly everything that former President Barack Obama had accomplished.

Trump's low approval ratings aren't helping, and Democrats, who are still hurting over Hillary Clinton's loss in the presidential election in 2016 are fighting mad. In the near eighteen months since the loss, there have been grass roots movements popping up all over, drumming up interest to get people to the polls for the mid-term elections later this year.

Even before Ryan announced he would not be running for reelection in November, it was thought that Republicans had their work cut out for them if they wanted to keep the majority in both the House and the Senate. And now with Ryan leaving, some are feeling it's time to throw in the towel for the House and just focus on trying to keep the Senate.

But GOP mega-donor Dan Eberhart wants people to know Ryan isn't leaving because he feared losing his positioning in the House.

"Everybody's going to write the timing is just because Republicans are going to lose — and that's true," he said. "But he really just wanted to go home."

Eberhart believes Nancy Pelosi becoming the next Speaker of the House is just the writing on the wall. "I mean, I think the House is gone," he reiterated. He thinks GOP donors are "going to naturally shift their focus to the Senate."

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and his cronies are feeling the same. "It seems clear now that the fight is to hold the Senate," explained Billy Piper, a lobbyist and former chief of staff for McConnell. 

A longtime GOP operative close to McConnell, Scott Jennings, happens to agree. "If you're a donor, and you're looking at Paul Ryan saying, 'I'm going to go ahead and retire,' it's a pretty clear signal," he told the New York Times. 

"If he thinks the House is lost, who would be more in the know than Paul Ryan? ...  McConnell, in the last few days, has said, 'The House is lost, we have to hold the Senate.' "

The Cook Political Report is stating that with a possible 50 to 80 GOP-held seats at risk in the House, Democrats only need to flip 24 of them to take control, and there are only 16 Democratic seats up for grabs. 

Ryan announcing his resignation at this point is "a major symbolic blow to the party as it heads into a tough campaign season," believes Harry Enten.

"The writing has been on the wall for a while now. President Donald Trump's low approval rating, Republicans' poor standing on the generic congressional ballot, and Democratic performance in special elections since Trump took office all point to a bad outcome for Republicans in November."

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