In a startling move, House Speaker frontrunner Kevin McCarthy of California dropped out of the race Thursday, forcing a postponement of the nomination vote.
The Republican Conference’s nominee later this month. That person will need to secure the support of about 218 of the 247 Republicans to officially win the speakership.
Thursday’s secret ballot would have only required only 125 votes. McCarthy reportedly had enough votes for that, but not for the full vote.
Little-know Rep. Daniel Webster (R-Fla.) earned the surprise backing of the House Freedom Caucus the day before the vote, according to the political blog The Hill.
But no surprise was bigger than Boehner’s resignation on Sept. 25.
Although the membership had grown increasingly displeased with Boehner’s stewardship in his five years, the move caught Washington off guard.
Boehner said he had been thinking about it the previous night and the next morning, “… I woke up and I said my prayers — as I always do — and I decided today’s the day I’m going to do this. As simple as that.”
Another contender for the speakership nomination was been Rep. Jason Chaffetz of Utah. He told Politico he knew what he was getting into chasing after the stressful job.
“This is not a blissful life — I take plenty of arrows … Go ahead and fire at me.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.