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Paul Ryan officially running for House speaker

"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," Ryan wrote in a letter to House Republicans.

By
Amy R. Connolly and Doug G. Ware
Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., won support from the hard-line conservative House Freedom Caucus on Thursday, clearing another hurdle to become the next House speaker. Ryan announced afterward that he is officially entering the race for the speakership. Photo by Molly Riley / UPI
Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., won support from the hard-line conservative House Freedom Caucus on Thursday, clearing another hurdle to become the next House speaker. Ryan announced afterward that he is officially entering the race for the speakership. Photo by Molly Riley / UPI | License Photo

WASHINGTON, Oct. 22 (UPI) -- Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan finally made it official Thursday -- he will run for House speaker.

After weeks of speculation and a conditional acceptance of the post earlier this week, Ryan formally entered the race for the speakership Thursday after receiving approval from the House's three main caucuses.

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Ryan said Tuesday that he would "gladly serve" as House speaker -- as long as the party caucuses, particularly the conservative House Freedom Caucus, backed him in the post.

That support came Thursday, as the Freedom Caucus and other party members pledged their support.

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The Freedom Caucus' support is critical for Ryan to attain the speakership -- and critical for congressional Republicans to begin healing the fractures within the party on Capitol Hill. The conservative panel played a part in the departure of House Speaker John Boehner and the dropping out of the race by House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy to replace him.

The Republican Study Committee and Tuesday Group also endorsed Ryan on Thursday.

"I never thought I'd be speaker. But I pledged to you that if I could be a unifying figure, then I would serve -- I would go all in," Ryan wrote in a letter to House Republicans Thursday. "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."

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Freedom Caucus members aren't unanimous in their support of Ryan, but two-thirds of the group's 40 Republicans agreed to vote in his favor during next week's election.

Ryan, 45, outlined Tuesday a series of conditions under which he would run for the speakership, including unity among the warring factions in the House.

"I'm grateful for the support of a supermajority of the House Freedom Caucus," Ryan said. "I look forward to hearing from the other two caucuses by the end of the week, but I believe this is a positive step toward a unified Republican team."

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Ryan has previously expressed reservations about taking the job, saying he is concerned about the divisiveness in the party and the effect such a position will have on his family.

Republicans are scheduled to nominate a new speaker on Oct. 28. A vote by the full House will come the following day.

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