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Paul Ryan Says He Won’t Be The Republican Nominee

House Speaker Emphatically Denies Any Interest In Running In An Open GOP Convention

Shawn Johnson/WPR

U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan of Janesville says he won’t be the Republican Party’s candidate for president, even if the nominee gets chosen in a contested convention.

With the very real possibility that none of the Republicans running for president will win the delegates they need to secure the nomination before the GOP convention, there’s been talk of an open convention, where someone who’s not in the race could become the nominee. One name that comes up regularly is Ryan’s.

But in an interview with Wisconsin Public Television’s “Here and Now,” Ryan emphatically denied any interest in the race.

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“Not going to happen,” said Ryan, who was Mitt Romney’s running mate in the 2012 presidential race. “Won’t be the case.”

As speaker of the House, Ryan will be the chairman of the Republican National Convention in July, a role that he said requires him to remain neutral.

“I think we should choose from those who are running,” Ryan said. “I’m not running for president. I chose consciously not to run for president. And as the chairman of the convention, I should not be considered as far as I’m concerned.”

“So that means it won’t be me,” Ryan added. “I’ll be really clear about that.”

Ryan’s comments come as many Republicans in his home state are making a strong push to defeat Donald Trump in Tuesday’s Wisconsin primary. Their hope is that a Wisconsin victory starts to derail Trump’s candidacy in other states. Republican officeholders like Gov. Scott Walker have endorsed Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, and conservative talk radio has attacked Trump relentlessly.

Trump remains the frontrunner nationally, but it won’t be easy for him to secure the 1,237 delegates he needs to win the GOP nomination outright. Cruz would have an even tougher time hitting that number, even if he wins Wisconsin and carries that momentum to the next round of nominating contests.

Should there be a contested GOP convention, Trump and Cruz would undoubtedly compete to be the nominee, but neither is a favorite of the GOP establishment. Trump’s entire campaign has been built on a willingness to go after politicians from either party, with some of his most ruthless attacks lobbed against Republicans. Cruz has similarly made a name for himself in the U.S. Senate by attacking Republicans and Democrats alike as members of “the Washington cartel.”

Ryan has had more luck building bridges between warring factions of the GOP, as he did when he ran successfully for speaker. That job, incidentally, is one he also said emphatically that he didn’t want.

“That’s different,” Ryan said. “(I was) already in Congress. That’s just moving from being a chairman of the Ways and Means Committee to speaker of the House while being a member of Congress. This is an entirely different situation.”

Ryan’s full interview will air on Wisconsin Public Television Friday at 7:30 p.m.