Ryan’s 2016 Role: GOP Frontman, Rainmaker

April 19th, 2016 | James Arkin | Real Clear Politics

Paul Ryan may not be running for president this year, but he’ll still play a critical role in GOP election efforts this fall, and events last week provided the script.

In a hastily scheduled press conference at the Republican National Committee headquarters last Monday, the House speaker attempted to permanently stamp out rumors Republicans might draft him as their presidential nominee at the convention this summer. He then quickly pivoted back to where he’s been for months, talking about his policy vision for the Republican Congress and his wish to be an “optimistic party” that is “defined by our solutions.”

“This job provides a platform to communicate a conservative vision for our country, and I’m intent on using it,” said the Wisconsin Republican. “Not for me, but for my House colleagues and for all those who believe that conservatism holds the key to a more confident America.”

Two days later, Ryan’s political team announced the speaker raised $17 million in the first quarter – $11 million of it given to House Republicans’ campaign committee – including $6 million in March alone, a monthly record for the committee.

The events showcased the ways Republicans think Ryan will be essential this fall: raising record sums while providing a policy blueprint and traveling the country to provide a spark to down-ballot campaigns as Republicans seek to hang onto their congressional majorities in a tumultuous and unpredictable election cycle. This may prove particularly important – and increasingly necessary – should Donald Trump or Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, both of whom have high unfavorability ratings, win the nomination.
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