>> That's why today I am announcing that this year would be my last one as a member of the house.>> House speaker Paul Ryan says he won't run for re-election in 2018. Walking away from one of Washington's top jobs as his Republicans brace for what can be a difficult election.
>> I'm Andy Sullivan in Washington where Ryan's announcement on Wednesday marks the end of a 20 year run for the Wisconsin conservative including three years as house speaker. He's accomplished one big thing, a huge tax cut. That's been a Republican goal for years. But he's been worn down by an unpredictable President and an unruly rank and file.
His exit is yet another warning sign for a party that's struggling to maintain its hold on Congress. Ryan has been reelected easily in his blue collar Wisconsin district since 1998, but he faced a tougher fight this year. Democrats like Randy Bryce raising millions of dollars to take him on.
Ryan said he wanted to spend more time at home.>> If I am here for one more term. My kids will only have ever known me as a weekend dad.>> Ryan first gained notice as a budget wonk who pushed deep cuts to the nation's safety net, a position that was first ignored, then embraced by his party.
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney picked Ryan to be his running mate in 2012. And fellow Republicans picked him for the top job on Capitol Hill after conservatives forced out Ohio moderate John Boehner. As House Speaker Ryan struggled to unite his party ultimately falling short in his goal to slash entitlement spending.
Still he was was widely respected, even by Democrats.>> We are not settling scores.>> At least 35 House Republicans have decided not to run for re-election this year. Democrats need to pick up 23 seats to win control of the chamber.>> Do you worry about the impact of your announcement on the 2018 midterms?
>> I really don't think a person's race for Congress is gonna hinge on whether Paul Ryan's a speaker or not. So I really don't think it affects it. Look if we do our jobs which we are, we're gonna be fine as a majority.>> Ryan's departure sets up a power struggle within the Republican ranks to replace him.
Majority leader Kelvin McCarthy is given the inside track there. It also raises the question of what Ryan might do next, perhaps a White House run some day. He's only 48 years old and he remains a popular figure within the party.>> Former Speaker Boehner just signed on to help run a marijuana firm.
Ryan might not go that route, but he'll have plenty of options.