Paul Ryan’s first year as House speaker was nothing if not a baptism by fire. Much like John Boehner before him, the Wisconsin Republican was forced to contend with trouble from both the left and the right as he struggled to advance even routine legislation.
And much like Boehner before him, there were rumblings before the election that dissatisfied members of the House Freedom Caucus could challenge him for his post. (More than four in 10 Georgia voters said they held an unfavorable view of Ryan in our poll last month.)
However, it appears that much of the discontent has faded over the last week as the GOP looks to unite and clean the legislative decks before Donald Trump takes office in January.
Among the 10 Republican lawmakers from Georgia who will serve in the House in 2017, we’ve heard from nine saying they’ll back Ryan for speaker when the matter comes up for a vote tomorrow via secret ballot.
“Yeah,” said Ranger Republican Tom Graves when asked last week about whether he plans to support Ryan. “He’s doing a great job.”
Buddy Carter, R-Pooler, invoked a famous Boehner quote that the job of speaker is akin to keeping 218 frogs in a wheelbarrow when he was asked about potential challenges to Ryan’s leadership last week.
“It’s difficult, but Paul knows that. He understands that,” Carter said. “But Paul’s going to be fine. He’s a great leader, he’s a great speaker and I’m excited to support him.”
Both of Georgia’s House Freedom Caucus members, Barry Loudermilk and Jody Hice, confirmed plans to support Ryan for speaker. The only person we have yet to hear from is Drew Ferguson, R-West Point, the newest member of Georgia’s congressional delegation.
Tomorrow’s votes are limited to leadership positions within the House GOP. Democrats are expected to hold their own internal elections later this week. All House lawmakers will verbally cast their votes for speaker on the floor in January.