Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., is staying in the House, and won't run for the U.S. Senate, two well-placed GOP sources tell National Journal.
(RELATED: Paul Ryan's Almanac Profile)
Ryan began informing close friends of his decision Tuesday and is expected to announce later in the day. Three GOP sources tell National Journal as soon as Ryan officially announces he won't run for the Senate, former Wisconsin GOP Gov. Tommy Thompson, is expected to announce his candidacy for the Senate seat being vacated by Democratic Sen. Herb Kohl, who recently announced he was retiring.
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Thompson, who served as President George W. Bush's Health and Human Services Secretary, has told GOP officials in Wisconsin and D.C. he intends to run if Ryan passes up the open Kohl seat. Ryan has made it clear in recent days he prefers his perch as chairman of the House Budget Committee -- where he believes he can influence, if not drive, the debate on fiscal policy -- to a seat in the Senate.
Thompson, 69, served as governor from 1987 to 2001 and defined his policy chops with comprehensive welfare reform -- called Wisconsin Works. The issue of welfare reform became an important component of the 1994 Contract With America. House Republicans under Speaker Newt Gingrich championed Thompson's reforms and clashed repeatedly with President Clinton, who vetoed the first two welfare reform bills the GOP-led 104th Congress sent to his desk.