Mar 14, 2018 - Politics & Policy

Ryan to tell House GOP that PA race should be a wakeup call

Paul Ryan

House Speaker Paul Ryan on Capitol Hill. Photo: Aaron P. Bernstein / Getty Images

House Speaker Paul Ryan is expected to tell House GOP members Wednesday morning that last night's special election in western Pennsylvania was much closer than it should have been — and that continued Democratic enthusiasm should serve as a wakeup call, according to a person familiar.

What to watch: Ryan is also expected to argue that Democrat Conor Lamb's strategy —
which Ryan will frame as campaigning as a conservative in a conservative-leaning district — is why the race was razor thin. But the suggestion that Lamb was unique could be a hard message for Ryan to sell, as the GOP has consistently fallen short in key elections in Virginia, Alabama, and New Jersey over the past year.

  • Ryan will say Lamb employed a strategy that will be very tough for other Democrats to replicate in the fall, arguing that Lamb actively distanced himself from Nancy Pelosi and the Democratic brand.
  • He'll also reiterate the importance of selling the tax cuts and note that every single Democrat opposed what he views as an increasingly popular law. 
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