Who will replace House Speaker Paul Ryan? Retirement leaves leadership up for grabs

Who will replace Paul Ryan?

WASHINGTON -- House Speaker Paul Ryan is walking away from the most powerful job on Capitol Hill after just three years. He gave three reasons for his departure: his kids, who are 16, 14 and 13, all born since he came to Congress in 1999.

"My dad died when I was 16, the age my daughter is," Ryan said. "I just don't want to be one of those people looking back on my life thinking I spent more time with my kids when I know if I spend another term, they will only know me as a weekend father."

Ryan was drafted as speaker in 2015, after conservatives forced out John Boehner. As recently as January, the 48-year-old from Wisconsin insisted he was staying put. On Wednesday, he claimed the daunting midterm elections, and an unpredictable president, had nothing to do with his choice.

But Ryan is the 24th House Republican to retire this term, a record. GOP operatives worry that more will follow his lead as polls show the party could lose control of the House in November.

Pennsylvania's Charlie Dent announced his retirement last year. We asked him who he thinks will be the next speaker.

"Well, hopefully we won't have to have that conversation until after the election," Dent said. "We first have to hold the majority before you determine whether or not you have a speaker."

Two House leaders aren't waiting. California's Kevin McCarthy and Louisiana's Steve Scalise have both made it clear they want the job. Ryan intends to weigh in.

"I have more thoughts on this," he said. "I think this is probably not the right time to get into that, and I'll share those thoughts later."

  • Nancy Cordes
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    Nancy Cordes is CBS News' congressional correspondent.