In the biggest shocker of the campaign season so far, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif., 23rd District) took himself out of the race for Speaker of the House. The announcement came Thursday, Oct. 8.
McCarthy, thought to be the frontrunner to succeed retiring Speaker John Boehner, told members during a Republican caucus meeting that he didn’t see a clear path to victory. Speaker Boehner immediately adjourned the caucus meeting as several members expressed their shock and disappointment.
When asked by members of the media later if comments he made on Fox News about the Benghazi inquiry being an effort to discredit Hillary Clinton had entered into his decision to step aside, McCarthy said those comments certainly did not help.
Clinton, the Democratic frontrunner for her party’s presidential nomination, is expected to testify in front of the special congressional committee investigation of the Benghazi terrorist attacks on October 22. Clinton formerly served as the Obama administration’s Secretary of State.
A bloc of conservatives known as the House Freedom Caucus announced their support for Florida representative Dan Webster and Utah’s Rep. Jason Chaffetz. McCarthy expressed his desire to remain as Majority Leader.
Speaker Boehner said he will stay on until a successor is chosen in the next several weeks. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-CA, said Republicans might need a “caretaker speaker” or someone who will be speaker until new elections are held in January 2017.