USA: House elects Paul Ryan as 54th speaker

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Speaker  Ryan Paul

WASHINGTON — Paul Ryan was elected the 54th speaker of the House on Thursday as his colleagues looked to the Wisconsin Republican to help unite his fractious party and end the constant crises that have come to dominate the chamber in recent years.

Ryan received 236 of the 432 votes cast. Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., received 184. Rep. Daniel Webster, R-Fla., got 9 votes. A handful of other people got a total of three votes.

The 45-year old Ryan, who was the Republican nominee for vice president in 2012, is the youngest speaker to lead the House in 140 years. He has served as chairman of two of the most powerful committees — Budget and Ways and Means — during his nearly 17 years in Congress.

Ryan initially balked at running for speaker but was persuaded by his GOP colleagues to become a candidate after Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., withdrew his candidacy because he did not believe he had the 218 votes needed to win. Ryan decided to run only after winning the support of the three major factions of House Republicans — moderates, traditional conservatives and the rebellious Freedom Caucus.

“He did not seek this office; the office sought him,” said House Republican Conference Chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers, who formally nominated Ryan on the House floor Thursday.

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