Kevin McCarthy’s Withdrawal Leaves House Republicans In Disarray

Rep. Kevin McCarthy left his party flummoxed about where to turn next for a leader, and the rest of Washington stunned by the chaos within Congress’ ruling party, when he removed himself from the running Thursday for House speaker.

In a closed-door session originally scheduled as a coronation for the 50-year-old Bakersfield Republican, McCarthy told colleagues that he is “not the one” to unite the party, despite having more than 200 of the 247-member Republican caucus behind him, the largest GOP majority since 1928. 

Even with their stranglehold on the House, Republicans have demonstrated time and again their difficulty knitting the party’s uncompromising Tea Party faction, numbering roughly 40 to 50 members, into a governing majority. 

That conservative bloc, operating under various groupings, including one called the Freedom Caucus, does not have enough support to elect a leader, but does have enough to keep anyone they oppose from holding the job.

Republican analyst Ford O’Connell agreed that the mayhem could damage Republicans next year. “They have to resolve it,” O’Connell said, or else “the majority could come into play in 2016. There’s a lot on the line.”

Read more from Carolyn Lochhead at San Francisco Chronicle

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