Politics

Another Wisconsin Republican Passes on Running for Ryan’s Seat

State Rep. Samantha Kerkman cites family concerns in announcing she won’t run

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan and his staff walk back to his office after he announced his retirement at a news conference last week. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Another Wisconsin Republican passed on running for House Speaker Paul D. Ryan’s seat, which he will vacate after this term.

State Rep. Samantha Kerkman cited concerns about her family in announcing she wouldn’t run for the 1st District seat, the Kenosha News reported.

“I have two kids, ages 10 and 12, and after talking with them about mom getting pulled away, (we decided) for their time, this is what I’m best suited for,” she said.

Ryan announced last week he would not seek re-election after serving 20 years in Congress.

His retirement has set off a scramble by Wisconsin Republicans to find a suitable replacement to keep the seat in their hands.

Watch: Lawmakers Seem to Like Ryan’s Lame-Duck Speakership Plan

So far, former White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, former state House Speaker Robin Vos and former state Rep. Rep. Michelle Litjens all announced they would pass on running. State Sen. Dave Craig also cited his young family in passing on a run this year.

University of Wisconsin Regent Bryan Steil is still considering a run for Ryan’s seat, WiscNews.com reported.

The only Republicans in the race so far are little-known Nick Polce and Paul Nehlen, who lost to Ryan in the 2016 primary by nearly 70 points and has openly used white nationalist and antisemitic language.

Kerman said she did examine the possibility of running.

“It is one of those rare opportunities; you have to take a good look at it,” she said.

But ultimately, the decision came down to raising her family

“When I’m in Madison, we have a system worked out (for trips home),” she said. “But if I were in Washington, it’s much harder to jump on a flight.”

She also said the congressional district is much larger than the one she currently represents.

“I can cover my district in 45 minutes,” she said. “Going from Janesville to Kenosha is a little tougher.”

Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates Wisconsin’s 1st District Lean Republican.

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