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Paul Ryan Says He'll Run for House Speaker

Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., informed House Republicans late Thursday that he would run for speaker after initially saying he does not want the job.
Image: Rep. Ryan leaves a meeting with moderate members of the House Republican caucus on Capitol Hill in Washington
Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) leaves a meeting about his bid to be the next Speaker of the House with moderate members of the House Republican caucus on Capitol Hill in Washington October 22, 2015. JOSHUA ROBERTS / Reuters

Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., informed his GOP colleagues late Thursday that he would run for House speaker, likely ensuring Republicans avoid what could have been a divisive battle to become the party's next leader in the lower chamber.

"I never thought I'd be speaker. But I pledged to you that if I could be a unifying figure, then I would serve—I would go all in," Ryan said in a letter to his Republican colleagues. "After talking with so many of you, and hearing your words of encouragement, I believe we are ready to move forward as one, united team. And I am ready and eager to be our speaker."

Ryan's announcement comes one day after a majority of the House Freedom Caucus, an influential faction of conservative congressmen, said they would support the popular lawmaker.

The 2012 Republican vice presidential nominee is expected to easily get the support necessary to succeed outgoing House Speaker John Boehner. If he had chosen not to run, the party would have been left with no clear frontrunner for the job after House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy withdrew from the race earlier this month.

Ryan was initially wary of the prospect of succeeding Boehner after the Ohio Republican abruptly announced that he soon plans to leave Congress.

Boehner’s tenure as speaker was marked by stiff opposition from the most conservative members of the GOP conference. But Wednesday night, many of those members agreed to several conditions Ryan set forth before he agreed to pursue the job. Chief among them was the need for GOP unity in Congress.

Also among Ryan’s conditions was that Congress reform a procedural rule that threatened Boehner’s stability as speaker known as a "motion to vacate the chair."

“We have an opportunity to turn the page, to start with a clean slate, and to rebuild what has been lost. We can make the House a more open and inclusive body—one where every member can contribute to the legislative process. We can rally House Republicans around a bold agenda that will tackle the country’s problems head on. And we can show the country what a commonsense conservative agenda looks like,” Ryan said in the letter.