House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy has dropped out of the race for the Speakership of the House moments before members were set to go behind closed doors to nominate a GOP candidate on the floor.
“Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) has withdrawn from the race for House speaker and the election for the top post has been postponed,” Politico reports.
House GOP members were set to go behind closed doors to nominate McCarthy for the Speakership—he just needed 125 members to support him to get the conference nomination—at noon. The meeting was set to run until 4 p.m.
McCarthy, one of outgoing Speaker John Boehner’s top allies, has come under blistering criticism from conservatives in recent days. Major conservative groups of members in the House—including the House Freedom Caucus and Rep. Steve King (R-IA), the chairman of the Conservative Opportunity Society—endorsed McCarthy opponent Rep. Daniel Webster (R-FL) in the election.
McCarthy was expected to get the nomination of the conference, but since Webster—unlike fellow candidate Oversight Committee chairman Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT)—refused to endorse the conference nominee, McCarthy was having serious issues getting to the necessary 218 GOP votes to win the Speakership election on the House floor on Oct. 29.