In a shocking development, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy Thursday threw the contest for Speaker wide open by suddenly dropping out of the race.
McCarthy was a sure bet to win the support of a majority of the GOP caucus during a vote that had been scheduled for today, but it was uncertain whether rebellious conservatives would deny him the 218 he would need to be elected later this month on the floor.
The vote among Republicans was rescheduled from today until Oct. 29.
According to Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., McCarthy told Republicans that he didn’t think he could unite the Republican Party.
“I’m not the one,” McCarthy reportedly told Republicans during the meeting today, to stunned silence.
“I just think it’s best to have a new face,” McCarthy told reporters early Thursday afternoon.
McCarthy has faced complaints from conservatives that he would be a kind of rerun of Speaker John Boehner, rebuffing them while favoring a more moderate course.
McCarthy had recently run into trouble by appearing to suggest that the Benghazi Committee was established for political purposes to sink the campaign of Hillary Clinton.
Even some Republicans had begun to question his suitability to serve as Speaker. Now they don’t have to worry about it.