WASHINGTON (AP) – In a stunning move, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy has withdrawn his candidacy for speaker of the U.S. House.
GOP lawmakers say 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 (BAY’-nur) delayed it.
McCarthy had been heavily favored to be nominated by his fellow Republicans. However, the California Republican failed to win over a small but crucial bloc in the House GOP: the hardline Freedom Caucus. The group of 30-plus uncompromising conservatives drove Boehner to resign by threatening a floor vote on his speakership.
Yesterday, the Freedom Caucus announced it would oppose McCarthy, and back one of his two rivals, Rep. Daniel Webster of Florida.
Rep. Jason Chaffetz (CHAY’-fits) of Utah, who chairs the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, was also making a bid to be speaker.