Why is Paul Ryan Retiring? Five Reasons House Speaker Won't Seek Re-Election

Speaker of the House of Representatives Paul Ryan will not seek re-election in the fall, potentially dealing a massive blow to Republicans fearful of losing control of the House.

Ryan told people close to him Wednesday morning that he intended to announce his decision soon, as first reported by Axios, citing unnamed sources privy to the discussions.

One top Republican described the 48-year-old Ryan's decision to leave Washington as a "Titanic, tectonic shift," with the midterm elections less than seven months away and many Republicans possibly in danger of losing their seats as Democrats mount an offensive against President Donald Trump around the country.

Ryan's decision has long been a rumor and was first reported by Politico in December, though the report was denied by the speaker. He is still expected to serve out the rest of his term, following suit with a number of Republicans who have similarly decided not to seek another term.

Despite the potentially poor timing, Ryan may have good reasons to move on. Here are five possible factors in the former vice presidential candidate's decision.

Tax Overhaul Done

One of the main reasons Ryan entered the political sphere was to change the nation's tax policies. And with a major push from Trump, he was able to get such a massive overhaul passed in December. With his primary goal done, Ryan can now call it quits, according to Axios.

Run for President? Someday?

Ryan may be done with the world of politics for now, but he could have more aspirations down the line. Friends of his told Axios that a run for president could be in the future. Ryan was Mitt Romney's running mate in the 2012 race.

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Speaker of the House Paul Ryan speaks during a Congressional Gold Medal award ceremony at the U.S. Capitol on March 21. On Wednesday morning, Ryan confirmed his plans not to run for re-election. Getty Images/Win McNamee

Time Away

Ryan has been in Washington for almost two decades, and he is now "ready to devote more of his time to being a husband and a father." Furthermore, he told CBS News in January that he would discuss running again with his family before making a final decision.

Relationship With Trump

While Trump and Ryan managed to get their tax plan passed, their relationship has been rocky at times. The president even chastised Ryan publicly for failing to repeal and replace Obamacare. Also, Ryan was caught on tape making jokes during the 2016 campaign about Trump being paid by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

May Have Lost Seat?

Ryan has held down Wisconsin's 1st District handily over the years, but he was facing a potentially difficult contest against rising Democrat Randy Bryce, better known as "Iron Stache." Trump has further complicated prospects for the GOP across the country. After leaving a meeting with Ryan Wednesday morning, Republican Representative Charlie Dent said the Republicans were in a "no-win" position with Trump, stuck between competing pressures to be both loyal to and critical of the president, according to CNN reporter Manu Raju.

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