WASHINGTON – Retiring U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan on Monday launched a whirlwind tour of a dozen states, where he aims to pump up the campaigns of 25 embattled Republican members of Congress as the party fights to keep control of Congress.
With three weeks until the Nov. 6 congressional elections, most projections show Democrats holding a strong chance of gaining the 23 seats they would need to take a majority of that chamber and more effectively counter President Donald Trump.
Ryan will begin campaigning in the northeast, where he will appear with Representatives John Faso in New York and Leonard Lance in New Jersey, then go on to the Midwest next week to back Erik Paulsen in Minnesota and Rod Blum of Iowa and later return to the East Coast to campaign with Dave Brat of Virginia and Ted Budd of North Carolina.
“We have great members and candidates on the ballot who support this agenda and want to continue advancing policies that improve people’s lives,” Kevin Seifert, executive director of Ryan’s political operation, said in an email.
Ryan in April said he would resign from Congress at the end of his term, giving up both the office and a leadership role the 2012 vice presidential candidate assumed in 2015 after fellow Republican John Boehner quit amid clashes with right-wing Republicans.
The Wisconsin U.S. Representative had initially hesitated to endorse Trump after he won his party’s nomination in 2016 but rarely criticized him after the New York real estate developer took office in January 2018.
While Ryan cultivated a reputation as a fiscal conservative, the December 2017 tax law and later federal spending deals he helped negotiate will help rack up $11.7 trillion in federal deficits over the next decade, according to recent estimates by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office.
(Reporting by Scott Malone; Editing by James Dalgleish)