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Reince Priebus Not Running For Paul Ryan’s Congressional Seat

State Assembly Speaker Among Those Still Considering A Run

Reince Priebus, Paul Ryan
Speaker Paul Ryan of Wisconsin and Reince Priebus, then-chairman of the Republican National Committee, talk while Alaska recounts their votes during the second day of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Tuesday, July 19, 2016. J. Scott Applewhite/AP Photo

Former White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus said Thursday he won’t run for the seat in Congress being vacated by U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan this fall.

Priebus was one of the most high-profile names being floated as a possible GOP candidate for the 1st Congressional District seat, which Ryan has held for nearly 20 years.

But he told WISN radio in Milwaukee on Thursday morning that he’s not going to run for the seat that includes Kenosha, where Priebus used to live.

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“Look, I’m always interested in serving, but the timing for me couldn’t be worse,” Priebus said on “The Jay Weber Show.”

Priebus served as the White House chief of staff for about six months before resigning last year. He has also been the chair of the Wisconsin Republican Party and Republican National Committee. He is currently working as an attorney outside Washington.

Other Republicans who are still considering running for the seat include state Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, and University of Wisconsin Board of Regent Bryan Steil.

Vos told the Associated Press on Thursday he will make a decision this week about entering the race.

Priebus said he’s confident Republicans will retain the seat in November’s election.

“It should be a Republican seat … we’ll let someone else deal with it, but they’re going to be successful, and I’m going to be happy to help them out,” he said.

Two Democrats, ironworker Randy Bryce and teacher Cathy Myers, launched their campaigns for the seat months ago, and more Democrats may still join the race.

Former minority Assembly leader Peter Barca is one of those Democrats. He was the last Democrat to represent the district, serving from May 1993 until January 1995.

In the hours since Ryan announced he wouldn’t seek re-election, Barca said he received encouragement to run for the seat he once held.

“Many people from throughout the 1st Congressional District who have supported me in the past, who feel that I may be in the best position to win the seat, asked me to at least look at it,” he said.

Barca added that his political experience would enable him to gear up quickly, and that he’d make his decision soon.

Editor’s Note: This story was updated at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, April 12, 2018, to include reporting about Peter Barca by David Cole.