Paul Ryan Officially Enters Race For Speaker Of The House

"I am ready and eager to be our speaker."

WASHINGTON -- He's officially in.

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) announced on Thursday that after meeting with various groups of House Republicans, he will enter the race to replace outgoing House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio).

"After talking with so many of you, and hearing your words of encouragement, I believe we are ready to move forward as a one, united team. And I am ready and eager to be our speaker," Ryan wrote in a letter to colleagues.

After widespread urging from House colleagues, including Boehner, Ryan, the Ways and Means committee chairman and 2012 GOP vice presidential candidate, said on Tuesday that he would consider running, under several conditions.

Chief among them was the full support of the House Republican caucus, including conservative members who make up the House Freedom Caucus. Many Freedom Caucus members had initially indicated they would back Rep. Daniel Webster (R-Fla.) for speaker.

But by Wednesday, it seemed that Ryan had enough votes, with about 70 percent of the group pledging to support him. He also spent much of the week meeting with other factions within the party to gauge support.

"I’ve spoken with many of you over the past few days, and I can sense the hunger in our conference to get to work," Ryan said in the letter. "That’s because, whatever our differences, we’re all conservatives."

Ryan was reluctant to enter the race, but many saw him as the only person who could unite the GOP, and Ryan said Tuesday he had decided "the consequence of not stepping up" was greater.

"I never thought I’d be speaker. But I pledged to you that if I could be a unifying figure, then I would serve -- I would go all in," Ryan said.

Republicans will nominate their next speaker in elections scheduled for Wednesday. The whole House will vote the following day.

Also on HuffPost:

Scenes From 114th Congress And Capitol Hill