Despite some misgivings, a number of more conservative GOP lawmakers who had moved to force out House Speaker John Boehner rallied behind Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) for the post on Wednesday, paving the way for the 45 year old Wisconsin Republican to likely be elected next week as Speaker of the House.
“I’m grateful for the support of a supermajority of the House Freedom Caucus,” Ryan said in a statement.
“I believe this is a positive step toward a unified Republican team,” he added.
The expression of support from the House Freedom Caucus came after a series of closed door meetings on Capitol Hill, as Ryan delivered his pitch for support in person just off the floor of the House.
It worked with most of those in the room.
“Paul is a policy entrepreneur who has developed conservative reforms dealing with a wide variety of subjects, and he has promised to be an ideas-focused Speaker who will advance limited government principles and devolve power to the membership,” read a statement from the Freedom Caucus.
“A supermajority of the House Freedom Caucus has voted to support Paul Ryan’s bid to become the next Speaker of the House,” the group announced.
While some members of the Freedom Caucus vowed to vote for Rep. Dan Webster (R-FL), who has refused to get out of the race, the numbers seemed overwhelmingly in Ryan’s favor.
“Paul is probably the guy from an economic standpoint who has the ability to do the most for the country,” said Rep. Austin Scott (R-GA).
Ryan still needs to meet with two other factions within the House Republican Party, but their support seems assured – meaning that if he wants to be the next Speaker, that should happen in elections on October 29.
That vote will not be unanimous among Republicans, as there still are some GOP lawmakers from the Tea Party side who weren’t won over by Ryan.
“I’m not sure at this point,” said Rep. Jody Hice (R-GA) as he emerged from the Freedom Caucus meeting.
“I will be voting for Daniel Webster,” said Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL), a stern critic of the GOP leadership.
“The impression I got in speaking with Paul Ryan is that he would be somewhat thankful if he did not have to be Speaker,” Brooks added.
Several colleagues of Webster from Florida were standing by him as well, including Rep. Ted Yoho, Rep. Bill Posey and Rep. Curt Clawson.
But those Republicans seemed to be in the distinct minority, as by Wednesday night, the signs were that Paul Ryan would be the next Speaker of the House.