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Zinke confirms he might run for Speaker

Rep. Ryan Zinke, R-Mont., confirmed he will consider mounting an insurgent campaign for Speaker of the House, should Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis.,not enter the race.

“We are waiting for what Paul Ryan has to say,” Zinke said Wednesday during a short press call from Baker, where he was on a tour. This week, the first term representative, who holds the only seat representing Montana in the House, is wrapping up a three-day trip across the state. He was also later scheduled to make stops in Miles City and Colestrip.

Zinke told the Havre Daily News editorial board Sunday he hopes Ryan, the 2012 Republican Vice Presidential candidate will step forward to accept the leadership mantle. Despite the urging of many within the party, though, Ryan has been hesitant to do so. In recent days, some activists have suggested Ryan is insufficiently conservative, citing his stances on immigration reform and backing of the 2008 bailout of banks and financial institutions.

In recent weeks, House Republicans have been scrambling to find a candidate palatable to both its establishment and conservative wings. Outgoing House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, announced in September he would resign from his speakership and the House on Oct 30.

Initially, Boehner’s top man in the House, Republican majority leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Cali., was seen as a natural successor to Boehner, but pulled out of the running last week following comments he made suggesting the House committee investigating the 2012 attack on the U.S consulate in Benghazi was established to drag down the popularity of leading Democratic Presidential candidate and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Zinke said that in recent years and under President Barack Obama, the country has strayed from its core principles and failed to live up to its commitments on the world stage.

“What we need, in my opinion, is leadership on American values and American exceptionalism,” he said. In his travels this week, Zinke said he and his office have received multiple calls and words of support from House colleagues, military veterans and fellow Montanans for such a campaign.

Zinke concedes that a freshman member of the House being elected Speaker would be

unusual, but not unprecedented. He added that he believes Americans are not looking to continue the status quo, but for someone who can lead congress as an institution.


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