McCarthy Backs Out of Speaker Race 10/08 12:21
With no warning, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy withdrew Thursday from the
contest for speaker of the U.S. House, shocking fellow Republicans just before
voting was to begin and plunging Congress' GOP leadership into chaos.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- With no warning, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy withdrew
Thursday from the contest for speaker of the U.S. House, shocking fellow
Republicans just before voting was to begin and plunging Congress' GOP
leadership into chaos.
Lawmakers said they were thunderstruck and in disbelief following McCarthy's
announcement, which came moments after they had showed up for an election
nearly certain to end with McCarthy as their pick for speaker.
"I have never seen anything like this," said Rep. Ryan Costello of
Pennsylvania. Said Rep. Mick Mulvaney of South Carolina: "We don't know why he
The election was postponed, as may be the scheduled Oct. 29 vote for speaker
by the full House, Democrats as well as Republicans.
What happens next is unknown. McCarthy was by far the heavy favorite to
replace Speaker John Boehner, who announced under pressure from conservatives
that he would resign at the end of the month. Congress is facing major budget
deadlines and fiscal decisions.
The other two Republican candidates for speaker --- Reps. Jason Chaffetz of
Utah and Daniel Webster of Florida --- lack widespread support in the House
GOP, although Webster has the backing of the hardline House Freedom Caucus.
But Thursday's secret ballot --- even if it had proceeded as expected ---
still would have been merely an early skirmish in the chaotic battle to lead
the House. It was to have been followed by the vote in the full House where the
Freedom Caucus could have blocked McCarthy's ascent.
It wasn't clear when the elections would be rescheduled, or if McCarthy, a
50-year-old Californian, would stay on as majority leader.