On Thursday afternoon, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy abruptly dropped out of the race for the Speaker of the House. This major development comes on the same day he was expected to be nominated for the same position.
It is not clear why McCarthy, who was the clear frontrunner, dropped out of the race. He has been criticized recently for his comments on national television stating that the House Select Committee on Benghazi was politicized for the purpose of thwarting Hilary Clinton’s campaign. He has since apologized for those comments.
In addition, McCarthy has faced resistance from many House Republicans who view him in the same light as Boehner – unwilling to fight the Obama administration on issues such as the defunding of Planned Parenthood.
McCarthy was widely accepted as the frontrunner. He faced opposition from Jason Chaffetz (House Oversight Committee Chairman) and Daniel Webster (a House Representative from Florida). McCarthy was expected to defeat both by a wide margin.
Rep. Webster had secured the endorsement of House conservative groups that included a 20-30 member bloc. This would not have been enough to defeat McCarthy for the nomination if the vote were held today, but would’ve caused a potential problem for McCarthy when the full House of Representatives voted later this month.
In response to his shocking announcement, the GOP conference meeting to determine the GOP nominee for Speaker has been postponed. The new date for the GOP conference election has yet to be determined.
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