Minutes after Republicans assembled for a vote to nominate their party’s candidate for Speaker of the House, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy stunned fellow GOP lawmakers by announcing he would no longer be a candidate for the top post in the House.
“My understanding is that he felt he could not get to 218” votes, said Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), who said his home state colleague simply said, “he wasn’t the right person.”
The dramatic move re-opens the House GOP race for Speaker, and means that Speaker John Boehner will stay on for an undetermined amount of time.
Boehner had planned to resign October 30.
Boehner later issued a statement saying he would stay on as Speaker until his replacement was elected.
Some Boehner supporters it showed conservatives don’t have much of a strategy.
“By refusing to give Kevin McCarthy the ten to fifteen votes he needed to get to 218, they decided to leave John Boehner as Speaker,” said Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-FL), who said it was just fine with him for Boehner to stay on.
Off the House floor, the conversation immediately turned to who should become the next Speaker; all sorts of names were being floated, with most of the attention on Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), even though he has steadfastly tried to stay away from the job.
“This is a fluid situation that can change hour by hour, day by day,” said Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC), who for now is supporting Dan Webster of Florida.