Rep. Kevin McCarthy, the presumptive successor to John Boehner, shocked fellow lawmakers Thursday by abruptly announcing that he was withdrawing from the race to become the next House speaker.
“We’re servants. We should put this conference first,” McCarthy said Thursday. “If we are going to unite and be strong, we need a new face.’
McCarthy’s bid for the post was hurt after a high-profile TV stumble in which he appeared to suggest the GOP-led House investigation into the 2012 Benghazi attack was partly aimed at weakening Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton.
The Clinton campaign seized the opportunity, releasing a political ad featuring McCarthy’s gaffe. The ad contends Republicans “finally admit it.” The timing of McCarthy’s comments combined with the Hillary advert has caused a backlash that made McCarthy believe he would no longer be able to obtain enough votes to win the secret ballot election.
The move today could put Representative Daniel Webster, a Republican from Florida, in line for the third most important job in politics.
The election for Speaker was postponed until further notice.