Republican representatives Robert Pittenger and Darrell Issa say the withdrawal of Rep. Kevin McCarthy from the speaker race came as a shock for everyone. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) Republicans in Congress were plunged into turmoil on Thursday when California Representative Kevin McCarthy, considered the favorite to succeed House Speaker John Boehner, surprisingly dropped out of the race, throwing the party's ability to govern into question. McCarthy, the No. 2 Republican in the House, had competition from more conservative lawmakers who felt marginalized under Boehner's leadership. The election for Speaker was postponed until further notice, House Republican Conference spokesman Nate Hodson said. Meanwhile, one House Republican, moderate Representative Charlie Dent, said he expected Boehner to stay on the job until the leadership question is settled. Boehner is scheduled to retire on Oct. 30. "McCarthy said he was dropping out of the race because he did not think he could unify a splintered caucus, Republicans said. "We were stunned," Representative Tim Helskamp said. The upheaval comes weeks before the United States is due to reach the limits of its borrowing authority. Congress faces a difficult vote to raise the debt limit to avoid a possible default, and lawmakers are also struggling to reach a deal with President Barack Obama, a Democrat, on spending levels before government funding runs out on Dec. 11. McCarthy was elected to Congress from California in 2006 and had been one of Boehner's lieutenants in House Republican leadership since 2011. He has been majority leader since August 2014.