Republicans Shocked Over McCarthy Withdrawal From Speakers Race

Kerry Picket Political Reporter
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WASHINGTON — House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy dropped out of the speaker’s race because he felt he would not be able to unify the conference, one Florida Republican Rep. Rich Nugent told reporters Thursday afternoon.

“He said he couldn’t pull us together,” Nugent said. “He was hopeful up to this point. I don’t know what kind of demands were made of him by the Freedom Caucus up to this point, so that may have had something to do with why he decided why he did not want to go on. He felt like he couldn’t meet them.”

When asked if one of the rumors he heard as to why McCarthy dropped out was personal in nature, Nugent responded, “No. I heard nothing like that. I’ve seen that email and I don’t believe it.”

North Carolina Republican Rep. Walter Jones circulated a letter around the Republican conference by. He requested that any candidate for speaker who has any moral skeletons in his closet to drop out of the race for the good of the party.

McCarthy and Republican Rep. Renee Ellmers have both denied having an affair. When asked by The Hill if she would support McCarthy in his quest for the speaker’s position, she replied:

“He has not spoken to me personally for my vote, and Jason Chaffetz has, so that’s where I am right now. At this point I will be casting a vote for Jason Chaffetz… I can’t vote for someone who doesn’t ask for my vote.”

“I’m apparently not high on his priority list,” Ellmers added.

Arizona Republican Rep. Trent Franks said that “there was no question in my mind that there was more than one factor,” when asked why McCarthy dropped out.

California Republican Rep. Darrell Issa, who supported McCarthy’s run for speaker, told reporters he believed It was smart of House Speaker John Boehner to delay the vote.

“I would not be surprised if Speaker Boehner will have to remain until there is a Speaker-elect and I think he’s committed to see an orderly transition so the answer I think is, I don’t think it would be wrong, but there needs to be a process and I think Speaker Boehner wisely recognized that the process couldn’t go forward,” Issa said.

He added, “I think it will be a broader field.”

Issa laughed off reporters’ questions as to whether or not he would consider running for speaker himself.