Rep. Paul Ryan decided Thursday the outpouring of support from the Republican party’s most conservative corners meets the Ryan litmus test and he is now officially a candidate for Speaker of the House. “I never thought I’d be speaker,” Ryan said in a letter to his House colleagues Thursday. “But I pledged to you that if I could be a unifying figure, then I would serve—I would go all in. After talking with so many of you, and hearing your words of encouragement, I believe we are ready to move forward as a one, united team. And I am ready and eager to be our speaker.”
Ryan’s announcement that, at last, he’s officially in came shortly after the more moderate and mainstream members of the party signed on to his candidacy. Their support, however, was not what was holding the former vice presidential candidate back from going after the speakership. As a precondition of putting himself forward to bail out House Republicans in disarray, Ryan wanted unanimous support of the party—particularly the party’s most conservative members. On Wednesday night, the House Freedom Caucus voted by a majority to support Ryan’s bid. That, however, was not enough support to land Ryan the group’s official endorsement, which requires 80-percent support. Even still, Ryan appears to have gotten the support he thought he needed to get the 218 votes on the House floor needed to land the speaker’s job.
“The rapid consolidation of support among factions of the Republican Party just a few weeks after Representative Kevin McCarthy of California had failed to unite them was a testament to Mr. Ryan’s popularity among House Republicans,” according to the New York Times. “The acquiescence of the Freedom Caucus was particularly remarkable given that the group, which was largely responsible for pushing Mr. Boehner out of his job and blocking Mr. McCarthy from replacing him, came armed with a long list of demands to earn their support. Mr. Ryan accepted none beyond a general agreement to look at and work on the House rules.”