Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-Wis.) first bid for national office didn’t work out as well as he would have liked: he was Mitt Romney’s running mate two years ago.
But the national platform raised the congressman’s visibility and the far-right Wisconsinite made no secret of the fact that he was considering a presidential race of his own in 2016.
As of this afternoon, however, those flirtations are now over.
Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, the Republican Party’s vice presidential nominee in 2012, told NBC News in an interview Monday that he will not seek the presidency in 2016.“I have decided that I am not going to run for president in 2016,” Ryan said in a phone interview, noting that he is “at peace” with the decision he made “weeks ago” to forgo a bid for the White House.
In the interview, the nine-term congressman went on to say, “It is amazing the amount of encouragement I have gotten from people – from friends and supporters – but I feel like I am in a position to make a big difference where I am and I want to do that.”
Ryan will, of course, remain in Congress, where he recently left his role as chairman of the House Budget Committee, instead becoming the new chairman of the powerful Ways and Means Committee.
For a guy who probably couldn’t win the White House anyway, that’s not a bad consolation prize.
Today’s announcement, while important, isn’t too big a surprise. Plenty of likely candidates have already begun laying the groundwork for national campaigns, reaching out to staffers, communicating with donors, and making frequent trips to early primary and caucus states.
Ryan hasn’t done any of those things lately, instead focusing largely on his new Capitol Hill gig.
Had he run, the Wisconsin Republican faced a challenging landscape – Ryan is perhaps best known nationally as an Ayn Rand fan whose spent years trying to eliminate Medicare and Social Security – and a historical precedent stacked against him. In modern times, no failed vice presidential candidate ever came back to win the White House four years later.
As for Ryan’s former running mate, Mitt Romney seems to have taken a keen interest in the 2016 race, and nothing in the congressman’s statement today rules out another run for V.P. next year.