Paul Ryan, John Boehner & Newt Gingrich have a new thing in common

    Paul Ryan speaks from the stage at the CPAC conference in 2016
    Paul Ryan at the 2016 CPAC conference (photo by Gage Skidmore, Creative Commons CC-BY-SA 2.0)

    Former Speaker Paul Ryan has yet another new gig — and he’s teaming up with two prior Republican House speakers this time.  While other Republicans are focused on keeping Donald Trump as president or the GOP in control of the Senate, Ryan, John Boehner and Newt Gingrich are working together on a fundraising campaign to keep state legislatures that are in the hands of the GOP from flipping Democratic, according to a Wall Street Journal article from Dec. 13.

    The three men will form an advisory council to the Republican State Leadership Committee (RSLC). The group describes itself as “the largest caucus of Republican state leaders in the country and the only national organization whose mission is to elect Republicans to multiple down-ballot, state-level offices.”

    “We have to stop them because the outcomes of these elections will have an everlasting impact on the future of our country,” Boehner told the Wall Street Journal, addressing successful Democratic efforts to gain back statehouse seats the party lost during the Obama administration.

    In September the RSLC posted an article from Politico that had the headline: “Republicans fear drubbing in next round of redistricting: It’s shaping up as a 180-degree reversal from the political landscape heading into 2010.”

    That article came out before both chambers flipped from Republican to Democratic this fall, and cited the importance to the RSLC of keeping Virginia in GOP hands. 

    “This is as serious as a heart attack and we’ve got to do everything we can to win it because this isn’t about one cycle,” RSLC President Austin Chambers told Politico, acknowledging that his party is less focused on statehouse contests than Democrats are and stressed the importance of state house majorities to control redistricting. 

    “It’s about the next decade. …If we get beat in these state legislative races, in these judicial races in these critical states, our party is going to be in a bad position for the next 10 years,” added Chambers.

    The RSLC says 2020 redistricting control could come down to the outcome in “fewer than 50 legislative seats across the country” which “could determine how a wide swath of congressional districts are redrawn.”

    Ryan moved his family to Washington D.C. from Janesville in August, less than a year after he announced his plans to leave Congress and return to live in Janesville full time. Since that time he has taken on several positions, including starting a nonprofit, joining the board of Fox News (and its other affiliates) and serving as a lecturer at Notre Dame


    Melanie Conklin
    Melanie Conklin is proud to be a native of the state of Wisconsin, which gave humankind the typewriter, progressivism and deep-fried cheese curds. Her several decades in journalism include political beats and columns at Isthmus newspaper, the Wisconsin State Journal and other publications. When not an ink-stained wretch, she served time inside state, local and federal government in communications. She is excited to be back at the craft of journalism as Deputy Editor of the Wisconsin Examiner. It’s what she’s loved ever since getting her master’s degree in journalism from the UW-Madison. Her family includes one husband, two kids, four dogs and five (or more) chinchillas.