WASHINGTON — Rep. Paul Ryan is formally declaring his candidacy for speaker of the House after getting unified support from across the Republican conference.

The Wisconsin lawmaker and onetime GOP vice presidential nominee will be all but assured of triumphing in elections next week.

He made the announcement in a letter to colleagues.

Ryan sought unity from divided Republicans as a condition for his candidacy. He succeeded in getting support from three major caucuses within the GOP, including the hardline Freedom Caucus that forced the current speaker, John Boehner, to announce his resignation.

Ryan would inherit a House with major budgetary and spending deadlines on the horizon. At 45 he would become one of the youngest House speakers.

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