(CN) – House Speaker Paul Ryan on Tuesday definitively ruled out a run for the presidency this year, seeking once and for all to squelch speculation that he will emerge from a contested Republican convention as the GOP’s nominee.
The Wisconsin Republican has repeatedly disavowed any interest in the presidency The Washington Post says he’s done so at least 18 times in the past but members of his party rattled by the prospect of either Donald Trump or Sen. Ted Cruz as the GOP’s nominee continue to espouse him as a savior.
In doing so, they point out that Ryan, Mitt Romney’s vice presidential pick in 2012, repeatedly said he had no interest in succeeded John Boehner as Speaker of the House last year, but eventually relented due to the pleadings of congressional Republicans.
“While I am grateful for the encouragement I’ve received, I will not be a candidate,” Ryan said of the speakership in a statement released Oct. 9, 2015. Two weeks later, he announced he had reconsidered and was actively seeking the position he now holds.
On Tuesday morning, Ryan sat for an interview with WISN radio in Milwaukee in which he said there was no scenario under which he would seek the Republican nomination for president.
“I will not allow my name to be placed in nomination,” Ryan said. “It will not be me. I don’t know how I can be clearer than that.”
“It is just amazing how these things keep going,” he said later.
Ryan then held a new conference at Republican National Committee headquarters to further press his case that he is not a candidate.
His comments come as a contested convention looks likelier by the day. While Donald Trump, the current frontrunner for the GOP nomination, is expected to handily win the New York State primary next week and several other contests in the northeast thereafter, there is some doubt he will secure the 1,237 delegates needed for the nomination.
In the meantime, Cruz has been steadily beating Trump in the fight for support among the actual delegates picked to go to the Republican convention in July.
Current predictions for what will occur at the convention in Cleveland range from it being “fluid” to a “free-for-all.”
Among those who believe Ryan would be a “dream candidate” for the GOP is Morton Kondrake, the long time Washington insider perhaps best known for being a regular panelist of television’s “The McLaughlin Group.”
Speaking with Courthouse News last week, Kondrake said “it would be a miracle if either [Ohio Gov. John] Kasich or Paul Ryan actually ended up with the nomination,” but in the same breathe he said he felt “it could happen.”
He said Ryan would have a harder time securing the nomination than Kasich because, unlike the governor, he hasn’t competed in the primaries and therefore “doesn’t have a claim,” but “everybody has been talking about it. The establishment has been talking about it. The right wing has been talking about it .. albeit disparagingly … the Ann Coulters and Laura Ingrahams claiming he’s no conservative and a sell-out and all of that … but Paul Ryan’s name is in the air.”
Kondrake also mention that supporters of a Ryan candidacy formed a superPAC to support a bid for the presidency last year, but that Ryan himself told them to shut it down.
“So this, a bid for the nomination, almost has to be done by people acting on Ryan’s behalf, but without his formal endorsement,” Kondrake said.
Courthouse News also spoke last week with Keith Downey, chairman of the Republican Party of Minnesota, who will actually be a delegate at the convention.
When asked if would support someone for the nomination who hadn’t run in the primaries, Downey said he could not.
“I can’t speak for anyone other than myself … but I’m not interested in supporting the kind of a process that would allow someone to swoop in and take the nomination from candidates who have been competing for it,” he said.
In this photo taken March 23, 2016, House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wis. speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington. An aide to Ryan says the Wisconsin Republican will address reporters Tuesday, April 12, 2016, to formally rule out a run for president this year. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
- Missing the Point