Republican Party: John Boehner (Speaker of the House)
After 4 years at his post, John Boehner became the first House Speaker since 1986, to voluntarily put down the gavel. Boehner, the son of an Ohio barkeeper, faced challenges from a divided government and his own factious Republican party. Despite facing heat from multiple sides, Boehner often received praise and earned respect even from his strongest opponents. He is known for his keen fundraising abilities, both for his allies, as well as his opponents. Throughout his tenure marred by dissent, Boehner managed several key achievements. He passed a bill to reduce the federal budget by $2.1 trillion over 10 years. He preserved roughly 99% of Americans 2001 tax cuts pushed by President George W. Bush. As recently as March, Boehner and House Minority Leader, Nancy Pelosi, reached an agreement to save Medicare $2.95 trillion during the next 30 years. Boehner’s tearful decision to step down is partially an act to lessen the chance of a government shutdown, and partially his recognition that the highly charged tea party block is not interested in compromise. So much so that Paul Ryan did not initially want the job he eventually, and reluctantly, accepted. While Boehner’s surprise resignation may help divert a government shutdown, the long-term Republican agenda is weaker without him. Boehner’s allies stretch back to 1991, winning his first term. Known for his willingness to collaborate for the sake of progress, his departure is likely to bolster the far-right wing of his party. And divergence within a political party is not the strongest position to enter the 2016 presidential race.