What we're hearing: One source close to leadership told us: "Scuttlebutt is that Paul will have to step down from speakership soon. Members won’t follow a lame duck, he’ll have no leverage to cut deals, and the last thing they need in this environment is 6 months of palace intrigue and everyone stabbing everyone else in the back."
- A senior GOP House member predicted this about Ryan’s future: “He will be gone by the end of July.”
- Some big donors, who have given millions to Ryan this cycle, may not want him to stay on as speaker if the entire party is taking on water.
- This is not because he’ll struggle to raise money. Enough donors from the old Romney-Ryan world will write checks to Ryan to try to save the majority.
- It’s more about certainty and stability. Members need certainty and they don’t want to operate until November in a climate where every move from every member of leadership is viewed through the prism of jostling for the speakership.
- Our sources say that could pull an already divided conference even further apart.