In a huge surprise, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy is out of the race for Speaker of the House. The California Republican withdrew his name in a closed meeting of House Republicans. McCarthy told reporters that his withdrawal is the best thing for the party. He argued that he did not want to be a distraction and said a "fresh face" can united fractured Republicans. McCarthy faced growing opposition from the most conservative members of the Republican caucus.

McCarthy's withdrawal throws the Speaker's contest into chaos. Current GOP House Speaker John Boehner wanted to retire at month's end but is vowing to stay on till a new Speaker is chosen. The vote to nominate a new Speaker has been postponed indefinitely. California Republican Dana Rohrbacher argued that there are several seasoned Republicans who are qualified to be Speaker. McCarthy is expected to stay on as Majority Leader.

McCarthy may have been able to round up enough votes to get the nomination in the GOP caucus. However, there were growing doubts about whether he could get 218 votes needed in a confirmation vote of the full House. Many hardline conservatives Republicans feel that McCarthy would be too willing to give in to Democrats on key issues. They had frequently leveled the same charge against Boehner. (Metro Networks Inc.)

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