Kevin McCarthy Drops Out of House Speaker Race
By: Erin Johnson, Xiro Xone News October 08, 2015
On Thursday Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy withdrew his candidacy for speaker of the U.S. House. GOP lawmakers said McCarthy told colleagues at the start of a closed meeting that he was not the right person for the job. He recommended that the election be postponed, and Speaker John Boehner delayed it.
"I have never seen anything like this," said Rep. Ryan Costello of Pennsylvania.
"We don't know why he did it," said Rep. Mick Mulvaney of South Carolina.
Bohner said in a statement that he will serve as the speaker "until the House votes to elect a new Speaker. We will announce the date for this election at a later date, and I’m confident we will elect a new Speaker in the coming weeks. Our conference will work together to ensure we have the strongest team possible as we continue to focus on the American people’s priorities.”
In a White House briefing, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said the challenge facing the next speaker is the same challenge Boehner faced.
"And that’s simply to unite the divided republican caucus," Earnest said.
McCarthy was the favorite to replace Speaker John Boehner, who announced under pressure from conservatives that he would resign at the end of the month.
The other two Republican candidates for speaker are Reps. Jason Chaffetz of Utah and Daniel Webster of Florida both who have been able to gain support from those in the House GOP, although Webster has the backing of the hardline House Freedom Caucus.
However, even if Thursday's secret ballot had proceeded as expected, it still would have been a intense battle to lead the House as the Freedom Caucus could have blocked McCarthy.
No word yet as to when the elections would be rescheduled, or if McCarthy would stay on as majority leader.
McCarthy and his two rivals were to address the meeting of the GOP rank and file in the basement of the Capitol, making final pitches ahead of elections to begin at noon.
Even with tough opposition, McCarthy was expected to emerge the winner Thursday over Webster and Chaffetz of Utah, who chairs the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.