Kansas’ all-Republican delegation united behind Paul Ryan as he ascended to speaker of the House Thursday — including Tim Huelskamp, one of the most vocal adversaries of outgoing Speaker John Boehner.
Huelskamp had supported Daniel Webster, R-Fla., for speaker, but Webster appeared to give up his campaign for the post, and no one nominated him for the job on the House floor.
Ultimately, Ryan — the Wisconsin Republican known for his focus on budget and fiscal issues — easily won the speakership, 236-184, against House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.
In a lengthy Facebook post after the election, Huelskamp sought to explain his vote for Ryan. Webster, while falling short in votes, had won the battle of ideas in the speaker’s race, Huelskamp wrote. But Huelskamp noted Ryan will allow a majority of the Republican caucus to dictate what bills move forward on the floor.
And, Huelskamp wrote, Ryan has indicated he believes the National Republican Congressional Committee, the House Republicans’ campaign operation, will support all incumbents.
“Ryan has outright rejected the retribution and punishment so prevalent in the House according to Boehner,” Huelskamp wrote. “Instead of being compelled by various subtle pressures, clear threats, or even Super PAC expenditures, Ryan has made it clear that all Republican House members are now free to vote their conscience, their constituents, and yes, even the Constitution.”
Rep. Lynn Jenkins, a Republican representing Kansas’ 2nd Congressional District, which includes Topeka, had endorsed Ryan.
“Our next Speaker faces many tough challenges ahead as House Republicans fight to rein in government spending, decrease overregulation and put control of people’s lives back in the hands of the folks living them,” Jenkins wrote in a statement.
“Our new Speaker Paul Ryan is a proven conservative leader and I am confident he is the right man to guide the House as we build an opportunity economy based on the priorities of the American people.”
Rep. Mike Pompeo, R-Wichita, at one point was testing the waters for a speakership bid, though he didn’t pursue the position.
Ryan used to serve as an aide to then-Congressman and Sen. Sam Brownback in the mid-90s. On Thursday morning, before the speaker’s election, the governor’s Twitter account posted a photo of Brownback with Ryan in the U.S. Capitol.
“Catching a few smiles with friend and soon-to-be Speaker (Ryan) before his swearing in ceremony this morning,” the tweet read.