Shocker: Kevin McCarthy Pulls Out

In a stunning development, Kevin McCarthy has withdrawn his candidacy to be Speaker of the House. Republican Congressmen apparently were as surprised as we are:

McCarthy shocked his colleagues at the start of Thursday’s closed meeting, telling them he was not the right person for the job. He recommended that the election be postponed and Boehner delayed it.

“There was total shock, and then total silence,” said Rep. Robert Pittenger, R-N.C.

Lawmakers were in near disbelief at the announcement, which came as Republicans began a meeting for what they thought would be the election of a new speaker nominee.

At this point, the situation is wide open. The other announced candidates for the speakership, Jason Chaffetz and Daniel Webster, are perceived as being to McCarthy’s right. So likely, a more moderate candidate will emerge as an alternative to McCarthy. Maybe additional conservatives will throw their hats into the ring. Or maybe John Boehner will be prevailed upon to stay in office for a while.

The full House is scheduled to vote for a speaker on October 29, so some time remains for this to play out.