House Republicans scramble to find a new leader amid speaker’s race chaos
U.S. House Republicans scrambled to regroup on Friday as they began searching for their next leader a day after the front-runner to lead the House of Representatives abruptly quit the speaker’s race.
“Starting this morning, we’re looking for a consensus candidate,” Representative Darrell Issa said in an interview on CNBC. Issa said if no such candidate emerges, House Republicans should consider rebuilding their entire leadership slate.
The California Republican said he was considering running for speaker of the House after Representative Kevin McCarthy said on Thursday he would no longer seek the post. McCarthy was considered the leading candidate to replace Speaker John Boehner, who is retiring.
Issa said he backed House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, who has said he would not run, and that he does not have a second choice. Issa said he would consider jumping in.
“I could potentially be a candidate,” he said in a separate interview on MSNBC.
The race for speaker of the Republican-dominated House was upended when McCarthy dropped out, saying he could not get the support he needed to win. Boehner had planned to leave Congress on Oct. 30 but said he would stay until a replacement is elected, while the future of the planned Oct. 29 vote for speaker in the full House remained in question.
Other candidates include Representative Daniel Webster of Florida and Representative Jason Chaffetz of Utah.
The House Freedom Caucus, a group of about 40 members aligned with the Tea Party movement that calls for lower taxes, less federal spending and reduction of the national debt and budget deficit, has backed Webster.
Walter Jones, a Republican congressman from North Carolina, on Friday said he supports Webster for the speaker’s job even as he acknowledged the long odds he faces to win.
“Obviously there’s chaos up here right now, and we’re going to have to see how it works out,” he told CNN.
Jones had sent a letter to party leaders the day before McCarthy withdrew requesting that all candidates confess any personal “misdeeds” that could embarrass the party. He has refused to elaborate on any specific concerns.
(Reporting by Susan Heavey; Editing by Doina Chiacu)