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Kevin McCarthy drops out of race for House Speaker

October 8, 2015

House GOP Leaders Address Media After House Republican Conference MeetingHouse GOP Leaders Address Media After House Republican Conference Meeting
U.S House Majority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) (L) listens as Speaker of the House Rep. John Boehner (R-OH) (R) speaks to member of the media after a House Republican Conference meeting September 29, 2015 at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC.Photograph by Alex Wong — Getty Images

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The race to replace outgoing Speaker John Boehner has been upended, as the most likely successor has dropped out, according to social media posts from House Republicans.

California Rep. Kevin McCarthy, who had been under fire for the last week for comments on the Benghazi investigation, apparently ended his candidacy, causing the election to be postponed.

When Boehner announced that he would not continue as Speaker last month, the handoff to McCarthy, the current House Majority Leader, was supposed to be calm and orderly.

Read More: New Fight Over House Speaker Exposes Power of Conservative GOP Rebels

But McCarthy mishandled a Fox News interview, stating that the House committee to investigate the deaths of four Americans in Benghazi, Libya, was helping drive down Hillary Clinton’s poll numbers—a gaffe that gave the Democrat’s campaign a huge gift.

He faced challenges from conservative Reps. Daniel Webster of Florida and Jason Chaffetz of Utah that, while longshots, made it difficult for him to win the speakership easily.

Read More: Why the House Speaker Fight Is Poised for Chaos