Politics

GOP Insiders Throw Cold Water on a Ryan White House Bid

The House speaker doesn't want to be considered if GOP convention undecided

Paul Ryan has said he wants those floating his name out of the race. ( Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Despite murmurs that a brokered convention might lead to House Speaker Paul D. Ryan becoming the Republican presidential nominee, many GOP experts dismiss the idea as pure fantasy.  

Some party operatives have speculated that if July's Republican Convention devolves into chaos with no candidate clearing the delegate hurdle for nomination, Ryan would emerge as the choice — much along the lines of how he became speaker last fall. But many GOP insiders Roll Call spoke to say that's a long-shot at best.  

"From my understanding and talking to folks around him, there's almost no possibility under the sun where he does this," said Rick Wilson, Republican strategist and media consultant.  

Reporter Heckles Ryan: 'So You're Not Running for President...?'

   

Ryan himself dismissed the idea outright on Monday during an interview on the Hugh Hewitt radio show .  

"But I do believe people put my name in this thing, and I say get my name out of that. This is, if you want to be president, you should go run for president. And that’s just the way I see it," he said, talking to Hewitt from Israel, the location he selected as his first trip overseas as speaker.  

Even those critical of front-runner Donald Trump, whose scorched-earth campaign has alienated establishment Republicans, say they're listening to Ryan.  

"As his friend, I take him at his word that it's not something he's interested in," said Katie Packer, who was deputy campaign manager for Mitt Romney in 2012 when Ryan was his running mate. Packer founded the anti-Trump group called Our Principles PAC.  

Still, others in the party base would not react positively to a Ryan nomination given his record leading the House. He's at odds with some conservatives in his caucus regarding a budget deal.  

"Even contemplating Speaker Ryan as some kind of compromise nominee is already deeply problematic," said Keith Appell, a former senior adviser to Carly Fiorina's super PAC. "Grassroots supporters in both parties are emphatically saying they are fed up with the Washington establishment trying to ram policy and personnel down the throats of the American people."  

He added: "People supporting (Republican Texas Sen. Ted) Cruz are supporting someone who is fighting the establishment," he said. "I think that this may just be some kind of establishment trial balloon or it may be more evidence of the establishment's delusional approach to 2016 politics."  

Henry Barbour, Mississippi's Republican National committeeman, didn't like the idea of such rumors circulating.  

"Sure sounds like a beltway story — nothing like that happening anywhere that I know of," Barbour said in an email. "Any attempt to crash the convention at this point would be ill advised."  

Alex Roarty contributed to this report. Contact Garcia at EricGarcia@cqrollcall.com and follow him on Twitter @EricMGarcia Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call on your iPhone.