Former US House Speaker endorses Mark Walker in Senate run

In this file photo from Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2017, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi of California, left, shakes hands with Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, R-Wis., at the start of the 115th Congress, at the Capitol in Washington. The Republicans will relinquish the majority to House Democrats under leadership of Nancy Pelosi as speaker on Thursday, Jan. 3, 2019, beginning a new era of divided government. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, file)

RALEIGH — Former U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan, who left the U.S. House of Representatives in 2019 after not seeking re-election to his longtime Wisconsin congressional district, has endorsed former U.S. Rep. Mark Walker’s bid for the U.S. Senate.

Ryan is featured in a letter and response envelope from the campaign, with supporters asked to contribute to Walker’s campaign. Ryan and Walker shared controversy while both men served in Congress.

In April 2018, Ryan asked the House chaplain, Father Patrick Conroy, to resign.

An NBC News report cited Walker, who was the chairman of the Republican Study Committee, as one of the leaders of the effort.

“I cannot give you any information on what the issue was. The only thing that we know is that members went to Speaker Ryan with concerns about Father Conroy,” Walker said.

The story continued, with Walker suggesting he preferred the next chaplain have experience ministering to families.

“Having spent 16 years in ministry as a pastor, there are things that you are able to understand that families go through in dealing with. It doesn’t mean you have to have to have your own,” said Walker.

While Walker is currently the only announced Republican candidate, more are expected to join the race. Often mentioned candidates are Lara Trump, former President Donald Trump’s daughter-in-law; former Gov. Pat McCrory, who has long said to be interested in the race; and U.S. Rep. Ted Budd.