Ever since he decided not to run for re-election in 2018, the former Speaker of the House and congressman from Wisconsin’s 1st District has stepped back from public life. But like former Gov. Scott Walker, he still carries a tremendous amount of power in Republican circles, and now, he’s slowly wading back into politics by weighing in on the current state of his party.
What He’s Doing Now
Ryan is currently a professor at the University of Notre Dame and serves on the boards of several consulting and management companies. In 2022, he was named Vice Chairman of Teneo. Since leaving public office, he also started a non-profit, the American Idea Foundation, which connects local organizations with policymakers who can implement their ideas. He’s currently on a media tour promoting his new book, American Renewal.
His Current Impact on Politics
Ryan, who served as speaker from Oct. 2015 to Jan. 2019, has become increasingly vocal about the state of the Republican Party, recently telling CNN he had “too much power” as speaker and sharing the piece of advice outgoing House Speaker John Boehner gave him upon winning the speakership.
“The last thing John Boehner said to me as he walked out of his smoke-filled office that I took over– don’t forget your number one job is to preserve the institution, defend the institution,” Ryan recalled.
So far this year, Ryan has:
- Labeled former Pres. Donald Trump “a proven loser” who’s “fading fast”
- Predicted Trump will not win the 2024 nomination
- Called upon Republican Rep. George Santos to resign after the freshman congressman admitted to lying about his experience and qualifications
And since Ryan has left the halls of Congress, many of the members he helped mentor have quickly risen in the ranks. Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY), once considered a “Paul Ryan prodigé,” is now the third-ranking Republican in the House (replacing Wyoming’s Liz Cheney.) She has now gone full Trump, so to speak, telling reporters she’s “ultra MAGA and proud of it” while pushing QAnon theories and embracing the “Big Lie” about election fraud.
What’s Next– For Ryan
The former Speaker was recently deposed by Dominion Voting Systems in its $1.6 billion lawsuit against Fox News, alleging the media giant defamed the company by pushing false conspiracy theories about its role in the 2020 presidential election. Ryan joined Fox’s board of directors in 2019.
The trial is expected to begin in April in a Delaware state court. Fox has denied the allegations, saying it was simply reporting on newsworthy claims brought by the sitting president of the United States.
What’s Next– For Wisconsin
Ryan’s former seat, currently held by Rep. Bryan Steil, is becoming more of a toss-up over time. While Ryan secured 65% of the vote in Wisconsin CD-01 in 2016, Steil won just 54% in 2022. The district spans much of southeastern Wisconsin, covering Kenosha County, Racine County, and most of Walworth, as well as portions of Rock and Milwaukee.
While that seat won’t be on the ballot again until 2024, you can vote in the upcoming February and April election to fill open court seats–including a seat on the state Supreme Court. That seat is important because the Wisconsin’s highest court has the final say over cases involving Wisconsin legislative and congressional district maps– and how fairly they’re drawn (or not.)
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