In a complete shock to most Republicans, McCarthy announced he was backing out of the race for Speaker. This is likely a result of vote counting that indicated extreme difficulty for McCarthy to secure the votes necessary on the floor of the House to be elected Speaker, though it is widely acknowledged he had majority support among Republicans.
The Conference met this morning to choose its nominee. With McCarthy’s withdrawal, the Conference vote is now slated to be rescheduled sometime in advance of the House-wide vote for Speaker on October 29.
Other candidates for Speaker include the Freedom Caucus-endorsed Daniel Webster (R-FL) and House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT). With McCarthy’s exit, however, the race is likely completely up in the air.
Credit is due to leaders like Rob Wittman and Freedom Caucus members like Dave Brat for mounting pressure for McCarthy to step down. Not only would McCarthy be extremely divisive (Boehner 2.0, as Freedom Works called him), but in a spate of recent public utterances, McCarthy has revealed himself to be apt to stumble and bumble in front of the cameras. In this sense, regardless of who the next Speaker may be, this is a positive development.
More as it become available.