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Paul Ryan has told confidants he won't run for re-election. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Speaker Paul Ryan told House Republicans this morning that he will not run for re-election in November.

Why it matters: House Republicans were already in a very tough spot for the midterms, with many endangered members and the good chance that Democrats could win the majority.

One of Washington’s best-wired Republicans said:

“This is a Titanic, tectonic shift. … This is going to make every Republican donor believe the House can’t be held.” The announcement will help Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) in his fundraising because “the Senate becomes the last bastion," the Republican said.

Statement from Brendan Buck, counselor to Speaker Ryan:

“This morning Speaker Ryan shared with his colleagues that this will be his last year as a member of the House. He will serve out his full term, run through the tape, and then retire in January. After nearly twenty years in the House, the speaker is proud of all that has been accomplished and is ready to devote more of his time to being a husband and a father. While he did not seek the position, he told his colleagues that serving as speaker has been the professional honor of his life, and he thanked them for the trust they placed in him. He will discuss his decision at a press conference immediately following the member meeting."

Background:

  • This decision was foreshadowed when Politico's Tim Alberta and Rachel Bade wrote in December that he saw his "wild Washington journey coming to an end," but his final deliberations were held extremely closely.
  • Ryan, 48, was the Republican vice presidential nominee in 2012, and has long harbored presidential ambitions. Friends say he could make another run in the future.
  • Friends say that after Ryan passed tax reform, his longtime dream, he was ready to step out of a job that has become endlessly frustrating, in part because of President Trump.
  • Friends say Ryan was contemplating a minority or slim majority and decided that there was no good time to leave — it was time for at least a stint in private life.

What comes next: The two most likely to replace him are Kevin McCarthy and Steve Scalise, though Scalise has said he won’t run against McCarthy, who appears to have first bite at the apple.

Get more stories like this by signing up for our weekly political lookahead newsletter, Axios Sneak Peek. 

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Go deeper

Airlines call for Biden admin's "immediate intervention" in 5G deployment

Photo: Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The CEOs of leading U.S. air cargo and passenger carriers on Monday warned the Biden administration there could be "catastrophic disruption" after AT&T and Verizon deploy a new 5G service this week.

Driving the news: They said in a letter to Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and other top federal officials ahead of the C-Band 5G service's deployment Wednesday that "the nation's commerce will grind to a halt" and "could potentially strand tens of thousands of Americans overseas."

Updated 3 hours ago - Energy & Environment

Thousands without power as "hazardous" winter storm lashes East Coast

Satellite imagery of the Northeastern U.S. taken by NOAA on Jan. 17. Photo: NOAA

A major winter storm lashed much of the East Coast Sunday and Monday, causing widespread power outages and disrupting travel over the holiday weekend.

The latest: Authorities in North Carolina confirmed that two people died in a car crash and that they responded 600 vehicle accidents during the storm on Sunday, per the Washington Post.

5 hours ago - Health

CDC director says COVID-19 messaging should have been clearer

Rochelle Walensky. Photo: Stefani Reynolds-Pool/Getty Images

Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said in an interview with the Wall Street Journal that the messaging around the COVID-19 pandemic and changing guidance should have been clearer.

State of play: Walensky is being coached by media experts and is planning to have more press briefings by herself in order to ensure that CDC is seen as an independent, scientific entity, rather than as a political one, the Journal reports.

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