Paul Ryan just gave the clearest indication that he's seriously mulling running for speaker

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin) will meet with members of a conservative faction of the House known as the Freedom Caucus, an indication that he is seriously mulling a run to replace House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio).

“This afternoon, at the request of the HFC members,” Ryan spokesman Brendan Buck told Business Insider when asked about the meeting. “He’s always willing to talk with his colleagues.”

Politico reported the meeting was a sign that Ryan is “seriously considering a bid for House speaker.” The New York Times suggested it “potentially end[ed] the suspense” about whether he would run.

Republicans have been pressing Ryan to run for speaker since House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-California) unexpectedly dropped out of the race to succeed Boehner.

A wide swath of the GOP establishment, including Boehner, McCarthy, and even 2012 presidential nominee Mitt Romney, have reportedly urged Ryan to run — even though Romney said last week that he might prefer Ryan hold out to be in a better position to eventually run for president.

Some of the more conservative members of the House Republican caucus, however, have already signalled their displeasure in Ryan as a choice to replace Boehner, with whom they often clashed. The House Freedom Caucus, which is comprised of more than 40 of those highly conservative members, has supported Rep. Daniel Webster (R-Florida) for speaker.

Ryan received something of a surprise endorsement from a key Democrat with whom he’d have to work often as a member of congressional leadership. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada) said he was a “fan” of Ryan, even though he disagrees with him most of the time.

Boehner is set to retire at the end of the month, but he has said he will stay on until his caucus picks his successor. Meanwhile, Congress is running up against a slew of upcoming deadlines, including a November 3 cutoff point to raise the nation’s debt limit and avoid a potential default.

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