House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy just shocked Washington, D.C., by dropping out of the race to become the next speaker of the house. The other declared candidates are Rep. Jason Chaffetz of Utah and Rep. Daniel Webster of Florida, neither of whom were previously thought to have enough support to win. High-profile Benghazi committee chairman Trey Gowdy of South Carolina has already indicated that he doesn’t want the job. Eyes thus turned naturally to Paul Ryan, the Wisconsin rep who one could picture having the combination of fiscal hard-liner bona fides and status within the national party that the job will require. But, in a quickly issued statement, Paul Ryan says no dice:
Kevin McCarthy is the best person to lead the House, and so I’m disappointed in this decision. Now it is important that we, as a Conference, take time to deliberate and seek new candidates for the speakership. While I am grateful for the encouragement I’ve received, I will not be a candidate. I continue to believe I can best serve the country and this conference as Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee.
Current Speaker John Boehner has said he plans to step down by the end of October.