WASHINGTON, October 8, 2015– In an unexpected move that has Washington DC buzzing, Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Cali.), the establishment pick, has dropped out of the race to replace Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio) as Speaker of the United States House of Representatives. Only an hour ago, media was reporting McCarthy as the presumptive nominee and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) took to Twitter saying that consensus was behind McCarthy becoming Speaker. However, it has become clear that McCarthy didn’t have the numbers to pull of a win.
“I’m not the one,” McCarthy reportedly said as House Republicans met to nominate their next Speaker. Audible gasps are reported to have been heard once McCarthy delivered his comments.
McCarthy’s exit comes as the House Freedom Caucus, a group of almost 40 conservative Representatives founded by Rep. Justin Amash, Rep. Scott Garrett, Rep. Jim Jordan, Rep. John Fleming, Rep. Matt Salmon, Rep. Raúl Labrador, Rep. Mick Mulvaney, Rep. Ron DeSantis and Rep. Mark Meadows., endorsed Rep. Daniel Webster (R- Fla.) over McCarthy yesterday.
In addition to the stinging abandonment of House conservatives, McCarthy handed Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton what many consider to be a hand-wrapped gift when he told media that the Benghazi committee we set up to hurt Clinton’s chances of winning the presidency. Due to McCarthy’s comments, for the first time, Republicans were put on defense, rather than Clinton, with regards to Benghazi and her email scandal. In a matter of hours, Clinton was running an ad in New Hampshire and Iowa stating that the Benghazi committee was nothing more than a Republican witch-hunt and featured McCarthy’s comments as ‘proof’.
A candidate for Speaker must receive 218 votes in order to be elected. If no consensus emerges, Boehner has said he will remain Speaker until a new one is elected once consensus is reached.
McCarthy said he felt good about the decision and that a new face was needed in order to reach consensus.
Currently, Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) and Rep. Daniel Webster are the only two declared candidates.