Paul Ryan rules out presidential run
© Greg Nash

Rep. Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanMcConnell names Senate GOP tax conferees House Republican: 'I worry about both sides' of the aisle on DACA Overnight Health Care: 3.6M signed up for ObamaCare in first month | Ryan pledges 'entitlement reform' next year | Dems push for more money to fight opioids MORE (R-Wis.) won't run for president in 2016, he announced Monday.

"After giving it a lot of thought, I've decided not to run for president. Our work at the House Ways and Means Committee over the next few years will be crucial to moving America forward, and my job as Chairman deserves undivided attention," the party's 2012 vice presidential nominee said in a statement. 

"It's clear our country needs a change in direction. And our party has a responsibility to offer a real alternative. So I'm going to do what I can to lay out conservative solutions and to help our nominee lead us to victory," he said.

Ryan's move comes as no surprise. He has long suggested that he wouldn't try to run for president and helm the powerful House Ways and Means Committee at the same time, and strategists close to the Wisconsin congressman have downplayed the chances of a Ryan presidential campaign for months.

Two of Ryan's closest political allies are also hinting at 2016 runs. His 2012 running mate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R), has made some bold moves in recent days after previously saying he wouldn't run, while Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) is also hiring staff for a likely campaign.

While Ryan's decision was expected, it removes one top potential rival from the GOP field. The former vice presidential nominee's approval ratings and name recognition are among the highest of any Republican's in the country.

The news was first reported by NBC.

Updated at 4:40 p.m.