Representative Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) is now the sole candidate for the position of House majority leader following an announcement on Thursday from Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX) that he has dropped out of the race.
Sessions’ announcement comes just two days after House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) lost his congressional primary, and a day after Cantor announced his resignation as Majority Leader by the end of July. According to Politico, Sessions cited a desire to avoid “division” in the GOP:
“After thoughtful consideration and discussion with my colleagues, I have made the decision to not continue my run for House Majority Leader,” Sessions said in a statement. “Today, it became obvious to me that the measures necessary to run a successful campaign would have created unnecessary and painful division within our party. At this critical time, we must remain unified as a Republican conference. As always, I stand ready and willing to work with our team to advance the conservative agenda that the American people demand and deserve.”
Cantor’s defeat on Tuesday signified the first time ever that a Majority Leader had lost his own party’s nomination for reelection.