What happens if Paul Ryan retires after the 2018 midterm elections?

Paul Ryan: you might know him as Mitt Romney’s running mate in the 2012 presidential election and the current Speaker of the House who has advocated for the Republican tax reform bill. But, according to recent reports, Ryan is weighing retirement.

Nearly three dozen sources close to Ryan have reportedly told Politico that the Speaker plans to retire after the 2018 midterm elections. He also reportedly told former Speaker of the House John Boehner that the role would be his last in politics.

The White House and Ryan’s staff have both denied that Ryan has plans to leave any time soon. Ryan’s press secretary, AshLee Strong tweeted that it was “pure speculation.” And Ryan himself also denied the rumors.

"I ain't goin' anywhere," he told reporters outside the White House.

Ryan was elected to the House of Representatives in 1998. He has served as Speaker of the House since 2015, after being chosen as Mitt Romney’s running mate in the 2012 presidential election. The 47-year-old is known for pushing to completely defund Planned Parenthood. Most recently, he advocated for the Republican tax reform bill, inventing a single mother named Cindy to explain how he believed the bill would give tax breaks to low-income people.


But what will happen if Ryan does retire?

Upon Ryan’s resignation, the House of Representatives would have to elect a new Speaker. Each major party or caucus can nominate a candidate, and then representatives vote by roll call. To win, a candidate must receive a majority of votes from representatives. Technically, candidates don’t have to be representatives, but every past Speaker has been a member of the House.

In theory, since each major party can choose a candidate, a Democrat could replace Ryan. But this probably won’t happen unless the party makeup of the House changed during the midterms, giving the Democrats a majority.

In September, The Washington Post reported that some House Republicans had considered House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy or House Majority Whip Steve Scalise as candidates for Speaker should Ryan resign. But official candidates for the position won’t be named until Ryan announces his resignation.

Until Ryan confirms that he plans to retire, we won’t know for sure what the future of the House will bring. In the meantime, the best way to make your voice heard is to contact your elected officials and to vote in upcoming elections.

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