US elections: Republican Speaker Paul Ryan re-elected to US House; doesn't mention Trump in thank-you speech

US House Speaker Paul Ryan greets supporters at an election-night rally on Nov 8, 2016 in Janesville, Wisconsin. PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - Republican Paul Ryan was re-elected to the US House of Representatives by voters in his Wisconsin district on Tuesday (Nov 8), positioning him to reassert his claim to remain speaker of the House, the highest-ranking post in the US Congress.

The 2012 vice-presidential nominee, if returned to the speaker's chair by House members, may have a smaller Republican majority to work with if voters elect fewer Republicans. Most House races were still undecided.

Like all members of the House, other Republicans were also running for re-election from their home districts, including House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California and House Majority Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana.

Along with Mr Ryan, they were expected to seek re-election to their leadership posts. Closed-door leadership elections in both parties are expected to take place later in November. A new speaker will be elected by all members of Congress in January.

Mr Ryan, 46, has been speaker since October 2015. His re-election to that job is not certain. Some House conservatives have criticised him, and they may have a stronger hand after Tuesday's voting.

Mr Ryan did not mention Mr Trump in his thank-you speech in his hometown of Janesville, Wisconsin.

He told the audience that the results in some of the other races around the country are closer than expected. He did not specifically reference the presidential race, nor did he mention Mr Donald Trump.

"I've just been sitting there, watching the polls. By some accounts this could be a really good night for America. Fingers crossed," he told the crowd. "Like you, I am eager to watch. There are a lot of races we want to watch."

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