On Thursday, Rep. Kevin McCarthy announced that he was dropping out of the race to become the next Speaker of the House. The move comes days after he implied that the House Benghazi Committee was essentially designed to hurt Hillary Clinton’s presidential ambitions.
This morning, House Republicans gathered to hear the cases of representatives who were seeking to replace Rep. John Boehner—and McCarthy was one of them. It wasn’t until the meeting that convened immediately following (at which representatives would theoretically vote on the next speaker) that McCarthy announced that he would be pulling out of the race, leading some to assume that his decision was made in the pause between the two sessions. In his announcement, McCarthy reportedly said, “I’m not the one to unify the party.”
While McCarthy has not clarified his exact rationale behind the last minute drop-out, Rep. Darrell Issa said to reporters, “It’s my understanding that [McCarthy] felt he could not get to 218,” votes that it would take to elect the new speaker.
McCarthy was opposed by Rep. Jason Chaffetz and Rep.. Daniel Webster, but neither had the overwhelming party support that McCarthy had. Now, Republicans will have to scramble to find a new frontrunner for the position.
Rep. Paul Ryan confirmed that he would not seek the position:
“Kevin McCarthy is best person to lead the House, and so I’m disappointed in this decision. Now it is important that we, as a Conference, take time to deliberate and seek new candidates for the speakership,” he said in a statement. “While I am grateful for the encouragement I’ve received, I will not be a candidate. I continue to believe I can best serve the country and this conference as Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee.”
In a statement, McCarthy said,
I have the deepest respect and regard for each Member of the Conference and our team as a whole. It is imperative for us to unite and work together on the challenges facing our country. Over the last week it has become clear to me that our Conference is deeply divided and needs to unite behind one leader. I have always put this Conference ahead of myself. Therefore I am withdrawing my candidacy for Speaker of the House. I look forward to working alongside my colleagues to help move our Conference’s agenda and our country forward.
Rep. McCarthy then got into a big black SUV and drove away like Bieber fleeing the paparazzi and drove away.
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