Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy has dropped out of the race for speaker of the house, according to reporters outside the House Republican conference’s closed door meeting to decide its nominee Thursday afternoon. McCarthy was expected to win the conference’s nomination for speaker but reportedly told members that he was out.
Retiring Speaker John Boehner has postponed the election.
McCarthy lost the faith of some in his conference when he “misspoke” about the nature of the Benghazi committee. And he was never the right match for the most conservative elements of the party, who were withholding their votes until certain demands were met.
McCarthy was being challenged by Rep. Jason Chaffetz of Utah, who made a late entry after McCarthy’s Benghazi statement, and Rep. Daniel Webster of Florida, who was backed by the House’s hard-right Freedom Caucus.
Update, 1:30 p.m.: Here is McCarthy’s full statement: